Spanning the last two centuries, Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature by Anna Elena Torres combines archival research on the radical press and close readings of Yiddish poetry to offer an original literary study of the Jewish anarchist movement.
Torres examines Yiddish anarchist aesthetics from the nineteenth-century Russian proletarian immigrant poets through the modernist avant-gardes of Warsaw, Chicago, and London to contemporary antifascist composers. The book also traces Jewish anarchist strategies for negotiating surveillance, censorship, detention, and deportation, revealing the connection between Yiddish modernism and struggles for free speech, women’s bodily autonomy, and the transnational circulation of avant-garde literature.
Rather than focusing on narratives of assimilation, Torres intervenes in earlier models of Jewish literature by centering refugee critique of the border. Jewish deportees, immigrants, and refugees opposed citizenship as the primary guarantor of human rights. Instead, they cultivated stateless imaginations, elaborated through literature.
Join YIVO for a discussion with Torres about this new book, led by scholar Amelia Glaser.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.