Tue, Jun 25
02:00PM ET
Tue, Jun 25
02:00PM ET

lecture

Leo Rosten and the Translation of Yiddish Joy - Live on Zoom

Sunny Yudkoff | Delivered in English. 

This lecture examines a book in Yiddish studies that is frequently mentioned but little read: The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten. Published in 1968, the work went on to become a bestseller. It remains in print to this day and has been translated into French, German, and Czech. The goal of this talk will be to analyze the construction and reception of the volume. To do so, Prof. Yudkoff will draw on archival sources, including fan mail, correspondence with YIVO researchers, and early drafts of the popular lexicon. These will be read together with book reviews published in both English and Yiddish, by authors as varied as anthropologist Margaret Mead and Yiddish researcher Mortkhe Kosover, the first director of the YIVO Library in New York. This talk will further bring Rosten’s volume into conversation with the work of contemporary affect theorists as well as cultural historians of postwar Jewish reading practices. Throughout, the guiding question will be: What vision of the Yiddish joy did Rosten project?

About the Speaker
Sunny Yudkoff joined the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, as well as the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the fall of 2016. Previously, she taught at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching focuses on Jewish literary production from the mid-nineteenth to twenty-first centuries.  Her first book, Tubercular Capital: Illness and the Conditions of Modern Jewish Writing, was published with Stanford University Press (2019). She regularly teaches courses in both Jewish Studies and the Medical Humanities. Her work has appeared in Prooftexts, Journal of Jewish Social StudiesStudies in American Jewish LiteratureLiterature and Medicine, and elsewhere.

Ticket Info: Free; registration is required.


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