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COURSE | The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf: Jewish Culture and Identity on the Page

March 17 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

- $120

In 1965, the year after the ouster of Nikita Khrushchev, the first collection of Franz Kafka’s writings came out in the Soviet Union. What did it mean to read Kafka in that moment? In that society?

Frequently subject to quotas and varying degrees of discrimination, Soviet Jews still participated fully within the larger society and had to abide by its rules — at times shaping these very rules from their professional and intellectual positions. Many were secular, with Russian as their native or primary tongue, and with no or very little knowledge of Judaic practice, which the state firmly opposed as it did any other religion. Without spaces to gather or material culture to hold on to, cultural memory, practices, and thought were formed and disseminated on the page, often “between the lines.”

Explore the writing that provided a foundation for Soviet Jewish culture in the 1930s, its development through the post-Stalinist Thaw period of the 1950s and 1960s, the Stagnation period of the 1970s and 1980s, and the Perestroika reforms of the late 1980s. From Lion Feuchtwanger (The Oppermanns) to Konstantin Paustovsky (The Story of Life) to Friedrich Gorenstein (Redemption), authors and their readers helped form a rich, intricate identity of Soviet Jewishness. One that continues to be an essential part of the canon today, across cultures and religions.

What translations were most important, what authors helped connect the Jewish diaspora from Odesa to Budapest? How did trends change as Jews confronted integration, Zionism, and defiance? How did “writing between the lines” preserve culture among the Soviet Jewish intelligentsia and, eventually, begin to mold the society it lived within?

Marat Grinberg is a Professor of Russian and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He is a specialist in 20th century Russian literature and culture, with an emphasis on Soviet poetry, modern Jewish literature, culture, and politics, and post-war European and American cinema. He is the author of I am to be Read not from Left to Right, but in Jewish: from Right to Left: The Poetics of Boris Slutsky and Aleksandr Askoldov: The Commissar. He is also co-editor of Woody on Rye: Jewishness in the Films and Plays of Woody Allen. He has published extensively in both academic and journalistic venues on Russian and Jewish literature, culture, and cinema. He received his BAs in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago.

Purchase Marat Grinberg’s newest book: The Soviet Jewish Bookshelf: Jewish Identity and Culture Between the Lines

Details

Date:
March 17
Time:
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cost:
$120
Website:
https://roundtable.org/class/course/the-soviet-jewish-bookshelf-a-cultural-history-of-a-postwar-society

Organizer

Roundtable
View Organizer Website

Venue

The 92nd Street YU
1395 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
(212) 415-5500
View Venue Website

Details

Date:
March 17
Time:
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Cost:
$120
Website:
https://roundtable.org/class/course/the-soviet-jewish-bookshelf-a-cultural-history-of-a-postwar-society

Organizer

Roundtable
View Organizer Website

Venue

The 92nd Street YU
1395 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128 United States
+ Google Map
Phone:
(212) 415-5500
View Venue Website