Since the Enlightenment, the cultural creativity of Polish Jews has found expression not only in Hebrew and Yiddish, but increasingly in Polish. There has been mutual and dynamic interaction between the cultural systems, but, until the end of communism, the trilingual Jewish culture of Poland was little studied. In this volume, scholars from Poland, the United States, Israel, Italy, and Argentina investigate writers from across this spectrum and consider how they saw their Jewish (and sometimes Polish) identity, and what they thought of the authors in the other linguistic or cultural camps. Together, their essays constitute the first examination of Jewish literatures in Poland from the point of view of both linguistic and geographical diversity. The interwar years serve as the reference point, but material on the period before World War I and after 1945 is also included. The book comprises six sections. There is new research on Jewish literature in Polish, including discussions of less widely known works by Janusz Korczak and Julian Stryjkowski. Polish-Yiddish-Hebrew literary contacts are then reviewed, with important pieces on Y.L. Peretz's early work, the translation of Hayim Nahman Bialik's poetry into Polish, the influence of Polish writers on Sholem Asch's early plays, and the reception of Yosef Opatoshu's novels in interwar Poland. The next section explores the images of Poles and Poland in the work of Jewish writers and of Jews in the work of Polish authors, for instance in the work of the Hebrew Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon and the Polish writer Stanislaw Vincenz. The subsequent section looks at avant-garde art and modern ideologies, with discussions of Bruno Schulz's graphic works and why communism appealed to some Jewish writers. Discussion then moves to questions of identity, with a special focus on Julian Tuwim, one of the greatest Polish poets, an assimilated Jew attacked by Polish nationalists on the one hand and Yiddishists on the other. The last group of essays in the collection looks at different 'exiles, ' understood both literally and metaphorically and encompassing works created in Poland, Israel, and Argentina. In spite of this wide range of themes, the coverage of the topic is not exhaustive: there are still very few studies of Polish-Hebrew literary contacts, and although more has been written about Yiddish writers in Poland there are still areas requiring a comparative perspective. This is a major study of topics which have rarely been discussed in English, especially Jewish literature written in Polish. The articles should appeal to all students of literature, and particularly to those interested in Polish, Yiddish, and Hebrew creativity understood as a rich cultural polysystem.
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Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska is Professor of Comparative Literature at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. From 2000 to 2011 she was the head of the Centre for Jewish Studies. She is the author of Polska Isaaca Bashevisa Singera: Rozstanie i powrot (1994); Odcienie tozsamosci: Literatura zydowska jako zjawisko wielojezyczne (2004); and Kazimierz vel Kuzmir: Miasteczko roznych snow (2006). She is the co-editor, with Antony Polonsky, of Contemporary Jewish Writing in Poland: An Anthology (2001); and the co-editor of Tam byl kiedys moj dom...: Ksiegi pamieci gmin zydowskich (2009) and Jewish Presence in Absence: The Aftermath of the Holocaust in Poland, 1944 2010 (2014). In 2004 she received the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award for research in the field of Yiddish. Slawomir Jacek Zurek is a professor and head of the Centre for the Study of Polish Jewish Literature at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. He is the author of numerous academic articles and books, including '...lotny trud polistnienia': O motywach judaistycznych w poezji Arnolda Sluckiego (1999); Synowie ksiezyca: Zapisy poetyckie Aleksandra Wata i Henryka Grynberga w swietle tradycji i teologii zydowskiej (2004); Z pogranicza: Szkice o literaturze polsko-zydowskiej (2008), translated into English as From the Borderland: Essays on Polish-Jewish Literature (2008); Zastygle w polszczyznie: Szkice o swietach w poezji polsko-zydowskiej dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego (2011); and, with Karolina Famulska-Ciesielska, Literatura polska w Izraelu: Leksykon (2012). He is a member of the Polish Society for Jewish Studies, the Council of the Polish Episcopate's Committee for Dialogue with Judaism, and the Polish Council of Christians and Jews, and has held a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. Antony Polonsky was born in Johannesburg, and studied history and political science at the University of the Witwatersrand. He went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1961 and read modern history at Worcester College and St Antony's College. He taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1970 to 1992. Since then he has been at Brandeis University, where in 1999 he was appointed Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, an appointment held jointly at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Brandeis University. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, the Institute for the Human Sciences, Vienna, and the University of Cape Town; Skirball visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; and Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, Oxford. Eugenia Prokop-Janiec is a professor in the Department of Literary Anthropology and Cultural Studies of the Faculty of Polish Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. She specializes in the history of modern literature and literary criticism, literary ethnology, Polish Jewish literature, and Polish-Jewish cultural and literary contacts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is the author of Polish-Jewish Literature in the Interwar Years (2003), the English version of Miedzywojenna literatura polsko-zydowska jako zjawisko kulturowe i artystyczne (1992), and of Pogranicze polsko-zydowskie: Topografie i teksty (2013). She is the editor of the anthology Miedzywojenna poezja polsko-zydowska (1996), the co-editor of Teatr zydowski w Krakowie: Studia i materialy (1995), and a contributor to scholarly journals and collective volumes in Poland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Romania, the United States, and Israel.
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