According to traditional narratives of immigrant assimilation, Jews freely surrendered Yiddish language and culture in their desire for an American identity. In "Recovering "Yiddishland"", Bachman offers a challenge to this conventional literary history, returning readers to a threshold where Americanization also meant ambivalence and resistance. She reconstructs "Yiddishland" as a cultural space produced by Yiddish immigrant writers from the 1890s through the 1930s, largely within the sphere of New York City. The book spotlights significant works by Yiddish immigrant writers that reveal unexpected and illuminating critiques of Americanization. The author takes a fresh look at Abraham Cahan's Yekl and Anzia Yezierska's Hungry Hearts. Bachman discusses the modernist poet Mikhl Likht, whose simultaneous embrace of American literature and resistance to English assimilation marked him as the supreme "threshold" poet. Combining sophisticated academic analysis of literary works with her own personal encounters with Yiddish writing, Bachman offers a provocative and highly readable contribution to Jewish literary history.
Publisher: Syracuse University Press