Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

<< Das Jiddische als Kulturvermittlung

Yiddish between East and West: Expressionism, Revolution, and the Habsburg Myth in the Soviet Union

Mikhail Krutikov (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)


During the interwar period, Yiddish literature occupied a unique position in the multilingual Soviet literary system as a cultural mediator across the ideological divide that separated the Soviet Union from the rest of the world. Soviet Yiddish writers tried to combine their loyalty to communism with a broader sense of belonging to the extraterritorial Yiddish literature. One of the outstanding creative figures in Soviet Yiddish culture was Meir Wiener (1893-1941), an Austrian intellectual, scholar, and Expressionist poet who emigrated to the Soviet Union and became a leading world expert  on 19th century Yiddish literature. Wiener’s legacy as a Yiddish novelist is less known, especially his magnum opus Der groyser roman. This unfinished and unpublished novel, written in Moscow during the 1930s, paints a broad portrait of the Jewish bohemian life in post-World War I Vienna and Berlin, of which Wiener was part. It combines nostalgia with sarcasm, sharp social critique with romantic idealization of the past. Although untypical in many respects, the example of Meir Wiener illustrates the predicament of the Jewish intelligentsia in the interwar Central Europe: the desperate and ultimately tragic attempt to square the circle between Marxism and Judaism, artistic freedom and ideological commitment, Europe and Russia.


Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9. - 11. december 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-08-03