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Remembering (in) the Mother Tongue
The Role of Yiddish in Israeli Autobiographical Expressions
May 13 2010


VIVIAN LEFSKY HORT MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIP LECTURE • MAX WEINREICH CENTER

Hannah Pressman, New York University

How does Yiddish both enable and complicate the remembrance of things past? Surveying Hebrew autobiographical writing of the mid- to late twentieth century, this talk highlights various authors’ contrasting motivations for weaving mame-loshn into their confessional tales. Like the religious discourse dominating these works, Yiddish is a key component to the writers’ challenge to the normative model advocated by secular Hebrew culture. The literary self-portraits discussed in this talk, viewed through the critical lenses of language and gender, offer a fascinating alternative vision of modern Israeli selfhood.



Remembering (in) the Mother Tongue Audio