By Naomi Seidman

With remarkably unique formulations, Naomi Seidman examines the ways in which Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, and Yiddish, the vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, got here to symbolize the masculine and female faces, respectively, of Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. Her subtle background is the 1st book-length exploration of the sexual politics underlying the "marriage" of Hebrew and Yiddish, and it has profound implications for figuring out the centrality of language offerings and ideologies within the development of contemporary Jewish identification. Seidman relatively examines this sexual-linguistic approach because it formed the paintings of 2 bilingual authors, S.Y. Abramovitsh, the "grand-father" of recent Hebrew and Yiddish literature; and Dvora Baron, the 1st sleek lady author in Hebrew (and a author in Yiddish as well). She additionally presents an research of the jobs that Hebrew "masculinity" and Yiddish "femininity" performed within the Hebrew-Yiddish language wars, the divorce that eventually ended the wedding among the languages.
Theorists have lengthy debated the position of parents within the child's dating to language. Seidman provides the Ashkenazic case as an illuminating instance of a society during which "mother tongue" and "father tongue" are in actual fact differentiated. Her paintings speaks to special concerns in modern scholarship, together with the psychoanalysis of language acquisition, the feminist critique of Zionism, and the nexus of women's stories and Yiddish literary historical past.

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Extra info for A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society)

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While Hebrew study was, in fact, a nearly exclusively masculine domain, it is not easy to discern a ·conscious ideological articulation or cultural mythologizing of Hebrew "masculinity/' certainly not before the rise of Zionism. Hebrew's associations with the Jewish father, with a patrilineal religious heritage, and with the masculine educational system certainly had far-reaching effects on the development of modern Hebrew literature; nevertheless, this "masculinity" never crystallized into an explicit or coherent ideological form.

Brought me no peace and caused me great confusion. ses. " like Abramovitsh's essay, addresses the predicament of Hebrew writers in the absence of any sizable Hebrew audience. " is really two vexing questions. " In Abramovitsh's description of his move to Yiddish, the difficulty of choosing a language tainted by its female audience is conflated with the choice of a language itself depicted as a debased female. " 7 Abramovitsh's tracing of his course from Hebrew to Yiddish combines with his apparent fondness for sexual/linguistic metaphor to produce an astonishingly intricate inquiry into the psychosexual dynamics of language choice.

I was sitting with him in the carriage, and thousands of people were around us, and they tried to lift the carriage up along with the old man inside. At last they succeeded and the cry- "Long live Mendele! "- broke out from a thousand throats. 1 Copyrighted material The Transsexual Imagination I From all reports, by the end of his life Abramovitsh's stature reached proportions reserved for European royalty in his day and rock stars in our own. Abramovitsh was not the first modern Hebrew or Yiddish novelist; Avraham Mapu (1808-1867) is generally credited with having written the first Hebrew novel and Yisroel Aksenfeld (:1 787-1866) the first Yiddish one.

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