Representing the Immigrant Experience: Morris Rosenfeld and the Emergence of Yiddish Literature in America

Representing the Immigrant Experience: Morris Rosenfeld and the Emergence of Yiddish Literature in America

by Marc Miller
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Popular authors such as Sholem Aleichem and Sholem Asch gained multilingual fame in the early decades of the twentieth century with short stories and novels that represented a world foreign to many Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. But the first Yiddish writer to serve successfully as an interpreter and representative of this world was Morris Rosenfeld. Marc Miller

Overview

Popular authors such as Sholem Aleichem and Sholem Asch gained multilingual fame in the early decades of the twentieth century with short stories and novels that represented a world foreign to many Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. But the first Yiddish writer to serve successfully as an interpreter and representative of this world was Morris Rosenfeld. Marc Miller examines the career of Rosenfeld, a key figure in the development of Yiddish literature, which was geared to American immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rosenfeld's early 'sweatshop' poems were designed to foment discontent within capitalism among the working class.

Although he began his career as a protest poet, Rosenfeld-with almost no Yiddish literary tradition to draw upon-soon moved beyond the narrow, propagandistic dimensions of his early work to produce some of the most lasting poetry in the Yiddish language. He abandoned his callsto-arms and shifted the focus of his poetry to the immigrant self. Instead of imploring workers to revolt against the upper classes, Rosenfeld began to lament the sad life of the immigrant worker who toiled and lived under brutal conditions. This new focus resulted in his widespread popularity that reached beyond his Yiddish-speaking, immigrant audience and earned him an international reputation as the representative of his time and place.

About the Author:
Marc Miller is assistant professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture at Emory University, Atlanta

Editorial Reviews

Forward.com
To be read by anyone interested in the emergence, and disappearance, of Yiddish from the American Jewish Life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815631101
Publisher:
Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2007
Series:
Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music and Art Ser.
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >