Salvage Poetics: Post-Holocaust American Jewish Folk Ethnographies (Hardcover)

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Salvage Poetics: Post-Holocaust American Jewish Folk Ethnographies explores how American Jewish post-Holocaust writers, scholars, and editors adapted pre-Holocaust works, such as Yiddish fiction and documentary photography, for popular consumption by American Jews in the post-Holocaust decades. These texts, Jelen argues, served to help clarify the role of East European Jewish identity in the construction of a post-Holocaust American one. In her analysis of a variety of hybrid texts-those that exist on the border between ethnography and art-Jelen traces the gradual shift from verbal to visual Jewish literacy among Jewish Americans after the Holocaust.

S. Ansky's ethnographic expedition (1912-1914) and Martin Buber's adaptation and compilation of Hasidic tales (1906-1935) are presented as a means of contextualizing the role of an ethnographic consciousness in modern Jewish experience and the way in which literary adaptations and mediations create opportunities for the creation of folk ethnographic hybrid texts. Salvage Poetics looks at classical texts of the American Jewish experience in the second half of the twentieth century, such as Maurice Samuel's The World of Sholem Aleichem (1944), Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Earth Is the Lord's (1950), Elizabeth Herzog and Mark Zborowski's Life Is with People (1952), Lucy Dawidowicz's The Golden Tradition (1967), and Roman Vishniac's A Vanished World (1983), alongside other texts that consider the symbiotic relationship between pre-Holocaust aesthetic artifacts and their postwar reframings and reconsiderations.

Salvage Poetics is particularly attentive to how literary scholars deploy the notion of ethnography in their readings of literature in languages and/or cultures that are considered dead or dying and how their definition of an ethnographic literary text speaks to and enhance the scientific discipline of ethnography. This book makes a fresh contribution to the fields of American Jewish cultural and literary studies and art history.

About the Author

Sheila E. Jelen is associate professor of Hebrew and Jewish studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. She is the author of Intimations of Difference: Dvora Baron in the Modern Hebrew Renaissance and co-editor of Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries and Reconstructing the Old Country: American Jewry in the Post-Holocaust Decades (Wayne State University Press, 2017).

Product Details
ISBN: 9780814343180
ISBN-10: 081434318X
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Publication Date: April 14th, 2020
Pages: 402
Language: English