Hunter College Schools
Presented by Allison Schachter, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, English, and East European Studies, Vanderbilt University
What role did women play in the making of Yiddish literary modernity? We know too little about the women writers, artists, and intellectuals who participated in transforming Jewish culture in the twentieth century. The standard accounts of modern Yiddish literary history exclude women's writing and experience. When women appear they do so as poets, but not prose writers. In my talk, I will offer a counter-history of modern Yiddish literature from the perspective of women, focusing on the life and work of the modernist writer, Fradl Shtok (1890?-1990). Shtok was a well-regarded poet, who published a short story collection in 1919 and then mysteriously withdrew from Yiddish public life. Tracing her life story through archival records, and closely reading her literary work, I piece together a story of women's artistic and literary lives in the first half of the twentieth century and offer a new account of Yiddish modernism.
ALLISON SCHACHTER, is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, English, and East European Studies at Vanderbilt. A scholar and translator who works on modern Jewish literature and culture, she is the author of Diasporic Modernisms: Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures in the Twentieth Century (Oxford UP, 2012) and Women Writing Jewish Modernity, 1919-1939 (Northwestern UP, 2022). Together with Jordan Finkin she translated, From the Jewish Provinces: Selected Stories of Fradl Shtok (Northwestern UP, 2022).