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


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