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Yiddish Studies in Russian: 2014–2019

Ekaterina Kuznetsova

INTRODUCTION

Yiddish and Jewish Studies in Russia have rapidly and intensively developed in the last decade. There was little to no tradition of Jewish Studies as such in the Soviet period so the field emerged after 1991. Since then many scholars, especially the ones working with Yiddish literature and language, have left Russia and now live and work in other countries, including the USA (Mikhail Krutikov, Gennady Estraikh, Elena Luchina), Israel (Ber Kotlerman, Alina Polonskaya), France (Valentina Fedchenko), and Germany (Tatyana Panova, Ekaterina Kuznetsova). This mass emigration makes the local landscape of Russian-Yiddish Studies relatively poor, and so it is no wonder that few monographs have been published in the last five years.

However, the number of articles (and their quality) published on Yiddish Studies since 2014 is impressive. In the different publications by the Moscow Sefer Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, studies on Yiddish language and literature have appeared regularly during 2014-2019. The first Russian peer-reviewed journal dedicated to Jewish Studies, Judaic Slavic Journal, was established last year and Yiddish Studies has occupied a significant place in it from the very first issue. We may even see a special issue entirely dedicated to Yiddish soon! In St. Petersburg, the main periodical related to Yiddish is Narod knigi v mire knig (“People of the Book in the World of Books”) whose main editors are the prominent Yiddishists Valery Dymshits and Alexander Frenkel. Although the journal is not purely academic, articles about the history of Yiddish literature and culture, translations of short stories from Yiddish, and book reviews appear in almost every issue.

Translations of Yiddish literature (almost exclusively prose) have increased significantly in the past few years thanks to the efforts of the Moscow Knizhniki Publishing House, which established the series “Wandering Stars” for translations from Yiddish. Almost every book includes a glossary, detailed commentaries and an article about the author and his works. I say “his” because unfortunately no female Yiddish writer has been translated and published in Russian in recent years. This outstanding translation project aims to fill the lacunae left by the previous Soviet tradition of Yiddish translation. After 1929, no Yiddish writer living outside the Soviet Union was translated into Russian. Thus, now the Russian-speaking audience gets the opportunity to encounter writers that were not available in the Russian language before. At the same time some Soviet translations of Sholem Aleichem and Mendele Moykher-Sforim continue to be published. This can be seen as problematic because these translations definitely need revision and editing, and hopefully new translations of Tevye der milkhiker or Dos kleyne mentshele will appear in the near future. However, there are already translations of Sholem Aleichem’s short stories that were not translated in the Soviet period, hence the corpus of Russian translations of Sholem Aleichem’s works is being updated. These new translations have not yet been published as a whole volume, but that may happen soon.

This annotated bibliography is the first attempt to compile a list of Yiddish Studies scholarship published in Russia between 2014 and 2019.

Books

Book Chapters

Articles

Special Issues

Translations

Dissertations

Books

Gennady Estraikh, Yiddish Literary Life in Moscow, 1917-1991. St. Petersburg: EUSP Press, 2015.
(Эстрайх Г. Еврейская литературная жизнь Москвы, 1917-1991. С.-Петербург, Европейский Университет, 2015)

In this book Gennady Estraikh (New York University) gives a detailed history of the Yiddish literary process in Moscow after the October Revolution. The book has ten chapters, each of which has a different theme, ranging from the Moscow Circle of Jewish Writers and Artists through the life and death of the Anti-Fascist Committee to the late-Soviet magazine Sovetish heymland. The author discusses a lot of fascinating and unique archival materials, memoirs and photographs to create a vivid image of the life of the Soviet Yiddish intelligentsia.

Masha Rolnikaite, The Way Home. Moscow, 2016.(Рольникайте М. Дорога домой. Москва, Книжники, 2016).

A book of memoirs by Masha Rolnikaite (Macha Rolnikas), a Holocaust survivor and Yiddish poet. In this book she describesher life in Soviet Vilnius and later in Leningrad, as well as discussing the Jewish Soviet intelligentsia and her encounters with Jewish artists.

Kirill Shishigin, Hybridization of Languages. Verbal-prefixal system of Yiddish. Moscow, 2017.
(Шишигин К. Гибридизация языков. Глагольно-префиксальная система идиша. М., “Флинта”, 2017)

This monograph focuses on defining the term “hybrid language” and examining how linguistic hybridization occurs. The author analyzes verbal prefixes in Yiddish and compares them to analogous German and Slavic grammatical constructions in order to demonstrate the mechanisms of linguistic fusion.

Valery Dymshits, Khren-trava and Other Articles about Jewish Literature. Saint-Petersburg, 2019.
(Дымшиц В. Хрен-трава и другие статьи о еврейской литературе. Санкт-Петербург, 2019)

This is a collection of essays about Yiddish literature. The first two parts are dedicated to Bashevis Singer and Sholem Aleichem. The author brings to the attention numerous mistakes and problems in contemporary translations and publishing of these writers’ works in Russian. The third part is focused on Isaac Babel. The fourth part contains essays about Yiddish poets

and writers Michael Felsenbaum, Avrom Sutskever, Lev Berinsky, and Boris Sandler. Finally, the last part includes three essays about translations from Yiddish into Russian.

Book Chapters

Alexandra Polyan, Yiddish – the Language of the Pale of Settlement, in: The Pale of Settlement, 1791-1917. Ed. by Alexander Engels. Moscow, 2018.
(Полян А. Идиш - язык черты оседлости // Черта. 1791-1917. К 100-летию отмены черты оседлости. Под ред. А. Энгельса. М., Издательская группа “Точка”, 2018)

The volume brings together chapters about different aspects of the Pale of Settlement’s history and culture. The Pale of Settlement was a region in the Russian Empire where Jews could legally settle that included some territories of modern-day Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. Yiddish was a common language for Jews in the Pale, and many Yiddish writers were born in this area. Alexandra Polyan’s chapter speaks about the spread and development of Yiddish in the Pale, describes the culture of reading among the Jewish population, and discusses the history of Yiddish literature into the Soviet period.

Articles

Mikhail Krutikov, “Five Novels That Will Change Your Opinion about Yiddish,” in: Lechaim, no. 266. Moscow, June 2014.
(Крутиков М. Пять романов, которые изменят ваше представление об идише)

Short notes on Der Nister’s The Family Mashber, David Bergelson’s The End of Everything, Yisroel Rabon’s The Street, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Enemies, and Sholem Ash’s The Nazarene.

Ilia Uchitel, “The Borrowed Lexeme ‘abi’ in Yiddish,” in: Jewish Speech, vol. 2. Saint-Petersburg, 2014. Pp. 29-52.
(Учитель И., Заимствованная лексема “abi” в идише)

The article describes the functions of the Yiddish subordinate conjunction abi, which is borrowed from Slavic languages — western (i.e. Polish, Czech) and/or eastern (Ukrainian, Belarussian and Russian). According to various ‘borrowability scales’ developed by several linguists, these conjunctions have a very low ‘level of borrowability.’ This research shows that the usage of constructions with abi in Yiddish depends on the dialect.

Alina Polonskaya, “The Figure of the Porets in Yiddish Literature,” in: Studies in Jewish History and Culture. Proceedings of the Twenty-First Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies. Moscow, 2014. Pp. 439-453.
(Полонская А. Персонаж пореца в идишской литературе)

A porets is a Polish landlord, who is usually an evil and violent character in Yiddish literature. The author examines examples from different works of fiction and explores the historical and cultural origins of this image.

Alina Polonskaya, “The Demonic Porets in Yiddish Literature,” in: In Umbria. Demonologiya kak semioticheskaya sistema. Vol. 3. Moscow, 2014. Pp. 275-314.
(Полонская А., Демонический порец в литературе на идише)

This article expands on and partially repeats the one mentioned above, but here the author focuses more on the specifically demonic features of the porets character in Yiddish fiction.

Denis Kiryanov, Elena Luchina, Tatiana Panova, Maria Tagabileva, “A Corpus of Modern Yiddish: Theory and Practice” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 14. Moscow, 2014. Pp. 78-89.
(Денис Кирьянов, Елена Лучина, Татьяна Панова, Мария Тагабилева, Корпус языка идиш: теория и практика)

This article explains the content and goals of the project “A Corpus of Modern Yiddish” that was conducted in the National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2014-2016. The authors also describe previous attempts to create a corpus of Yiddish texts and the research methodology used.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova, “The Interpretation of Biblical Plots in Songs of the Pentateuch by Itzik Manger,” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 14. Moscow, 2014. Pp. 90-103.
(Кузнецова Е., Интерпретация библейских сюжетов в цикле Ицика Мангера «Песни на Пятикнижие»)

This article examines Itsik Manger’s book Humesh-lider, one of the poet’s most famous works. In particular, this article analyzes the techniques and methods that Manger uses to import Biblical plots and characters into the familiar setting of Eastern European shtetl.

Tatyana Panova, “Contact Effects in Bessarabian Yiddish Verbal Morphology,” in: Jewish Speech, vol. 3. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 54-70.
(Панова Т., Контактные явления в глагольной морфологии бессарабского идиша)

The article describes the recordings made during a language documentation expedition to Bessarabia in 2012. All the native speakers are bi- or trilingual, though Rumanian doesn’t play any role, while Russian has had a strong influence on their speech. Based on previously published dictionaries and grammars, it is possible to distinguish more recent influence from the effect of earlier interaction with Slavic languages, which is now part of standard language or Eastern Yiddish. The author focuses on the alternations of verbal structures that involve both vocabulary and syntax.

Alina Polonskaya, “The European Character of the ‘Beautiful Jewess’ in Yiddish Pulp Fiction,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 113-128.
(Полонская А., Персонаж “прекрасной еврейки” в переводах европейской литературы на идиш)

The European romantic plot about the “Beautiful Jewess” (“la belle juive”), who is torn between her love for a noble Christian and her fidelity to her father’s faith that leads to her eventual death, has always attractedthe interest of Jewish readers. During the emergence of modern Yiddish literature and theater, these plots were translated, adapted, and reinterpreted. As this article shows, all of these translations and adaptations belonged to pulp fiction (or shund literature) and some Yiddish authors even tried to find excuses for being “Romantic”. Why the “Beautiful Jewess” was relegated to pulp literature and had no success among more serious authors is an interesting issue for further consideration.

Ber Kotlerman, “Sholem Aleichem and the Art of Cinema: the Writer’s Russian-Language Screenplay about Motl the Cantor’s Son,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 129-137.
(Котлерман Б., Шолом-Алейхем и искусство кино: русскоязычный киносценарий писателя по “Мальчику Мотлу”)

In 1913-1914 Sholem Aleichem wrote several film scripts in Russian and Yiddish. This article deals with a missing Russian-language screenplay, The Adventures of Lucky Motl, which Sholem Aleichem based on his own famous Yiddish work, Motl the Cantor’s Son. The writer was very active in promoting Motl in the Russian and American cinema until the final days of his life. The screenplay provides scholars with a missing link in the genesis of Sholem Aleichem’s well-known work.

Mikhail Lukin, “‘Shtetl Romance’ and Its Cultural Context,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 138-171.
(Лукин М., “Местечковый романс” и его культурный контекст)

Lukin’s article focuses on a specific musical-poetical form recorded in Eastern Europe mainly in Yiddish folk songs. Two prominent ethnomusicologists, Sofia Magid and Moisei Beregovsky, pointed to the uniqueness of this form, which differs from the formal patterns of neighboring musical traditions. The melodies of “four-phrasal form” songs show typological similarity to the Western-European folk song forms of the Renaissance period, whereas many parameters of their texts are close to those of the Eastern European “suburban romance” of the 18th — 19th centuries. Therefore, the group of songs under consideration can be referred to as the “shtetl romance”, in light of its combination of archaism and everyday life.

Nataliya Tyshkevich, Elena Luchina, “Analytic Verbal Construction of Semitic Origin among Other Periphrastic Verbs in Yiddish,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 215-229.
(Тышкевич Н., Лучина Е., Глагольные аналитические конструкции семитского происхождения среди других перифрастических глаголов в идише)

The Yiddish language, highly influenced by language contact in multilingual areas, has a few conventional verbal borrowing patterns, including the analytic model V + PTCP, where V is a verb and PTCP is a participle. This model, which primarily integrates loan verbs of Hebrew-Aramaic origin, is traditionally considered a monolithic class with distinctive features. The authors of this study divide this class into subclasses and relate some of them to a light verb construction (v + PTCP).

Ilia Uchitel, “Yiddish Final Constructions,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 230-266.
(Учитель И., К вопросу о целевых конструкциях в идише)

This study deals with the various kinds of final clauses in Yiddish, which are considered from both a diachronic and a synchronic perspective. It focuses on areal differences in these constructions and their existence in various dialects of Yiddish, drawing some parallels between similar constructions in German dialects. The research is based on both corpora and field data.

Andrii Zornytskyi, “Borrowed Lexical Units in Texts by I. Manger and Their Reflection in Available Lexicographic Sources,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 4. Saint-Petersburg, 2015. Pp. 267-281.
(Зорницкий А., Заимствованные лексические единицы в текстах И. Мангера и их отображение в наличествующих лексикографических источниках)

The paper attempts a complex description of certain rarely used words and expressions employed in the texts of the Yiddish poet Itsik Manger and yet unregistered in available dictionaries of the Yiddish language. The lexical units under consideration most often present borrowings from several Western Ukrainian patois as well as from German, Polish, and Russian. It is maintained that in a number of cases the analyzed texts contain certain words and expressions which can, with a high degree of probability, be viewed as regionalisms, thus demanding separate consideration.

Alina Polonskaya, “Legend of the Jewess’ Eyes: Parallel Plots in Yiddish and French Literature,” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 15. Moscow, 2015. Pp. 45-72.
(Полонская А., Легенда о глазах еврейки: параллельные сюжеты в литературе на идише и во французской литературе)

The “Beautiful Jewess” was a popular character in nineteenth-century French literature, and the author analyzes the special role of the eyes in the image of this archetypal character, bringing parallels and possible sources from Yiddish literature.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova, “The Analysis of Itzik Manger’s poem “Di Balade fun Shnirl Shtern,” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 15. Moscow, 2015. Pp. 84-93.
(Кузнецова Е. Анализ стихотворения Ицика Мангера «Баллада об ожерелье звезд»)

The author offers a new interpretation of the Manger’s poem in which she argues that the main character of the poem does not die, but rather converts to Christianity. This interpretation is based on the text’s parallels with other works by Manger.

Valery Dymshits, “The Old Jew Mordechai and Chevalier Haman,” in: Lechaim, no. 287. Moscow, March 2016.
(Дымшиц В. Старый еврей Мордехай и шпринц-кавалер Аман)

This article discusses the representation of major characters in Purim-shpils, namely Mordechai and Haman. In particular, the article explores how the character Mordechai often replicates the Western stereotype of the “grotesque Jew,” which sharply contrasts with the costuming and almost heroic characterization of non-Jewish characters, namely Haman.

Valery Dymshits, “The Fairytales of a Polish Forest,” in: Lechaim, no. 287. Moscow, March 2016.
(Дымшиц В. Сказки польского леса)

A discussion of Josef Opatoshu’s life and works, particularly his Polish trilogy, in the context of multilingual literary traditions..

Valery Dymshits, “Lev Kvitko’s Children’s Poems in Russian Translations,” in: Detskiye chteniya, vol. 1. Moscow, 2016. Pp. 152-178.
(Дымшиц В. Детские стихи Льва Квитко в русских переводах)

The article focuses on the dominant tendencies in Russian translations of Kvitko’s children’s poetry, as well as the major differences between the Yiddish and Russian images of the poet and his writings.

Valentina Fedchenko, “The Construction TON + INF in Yiddish. Semantics and Pragmatics,” in: Judaica Petropolitana, vol. 6. Saint Petersburg, 2016. Pp. 159-171.
(Федченко В., Конструкция TON + INF в идише. Семантика и прагматика)

Periphrastic “do”-constructions are a widespread linguistic phenomenon, and Yiddish presents interesting material on the issue. This paper studies the diachronic development of the construction ton + INF, which isanalyzed as a tense and aspect marker in its grammatical semantics and pragmatic use. A number of data is compared with similar cases in Germanic languages and dialects.

Gennady Estraikh, “Sovetish heymland’s Young Growth,” in: Narod knigi v mire knig, vol. 123. Saint Petersburg, August 2016.
(Эстрайх Г., Поросль “Советиш геймланд”).

Memoirs about the Sovetish heymland journal and the people who worked there, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the journal’s first special youth issue.

Valery Dymshits, “A Dangerous Intertext: Sholem Aleichem’s ‘A vigreshne bilet’ and Nikolai Gogol’s Taras Bulba,” in: Narod knigi v mire knig, vol. 124. Saint Petersburg, October 2016.
(Дымшиц В., Опасный интертекст)

The article gives interesting parallels between the two works and reveals new aspects of Gogol’s literary influence on Sholem Aleichem’s works.

Vasilisa Andriyanets, “The Converbial Augment -et in Yiddish,” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 16. Moscow, 2017. Pp. 79-85.
(Андриянец В., Конвербное наращение -et в языке идиш)

The article includes a list of converbial prefixes that can be combined with the augment -et, analyzes the differences between Yiddish dialects regarding the usage of the augment, and supports the conclusions drawn from the study with examples from Yiddish literature.

Valentina Fedchenko, “Is there a Semelfactive Aspect in Yiddish?” in: Studies in Jewish History and Culture. Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies. Moscow, 2017. Pp. 423-430.
(Федченко В., Есть ли в идише моментальный вид?)

This article examines if the Yiddish “momentaler aspekt” can really be called a semelfactive aspect or if it has different semantic functions.

Efim Melamed, “The Irony of Avrom Abchiuk’s Fate,” in: Narod knigi v mire knig, vol. 127. Saint-Petersburg, April 2017.
(Меламед Е. Ирония судьбы Аврома Абчука)
Efim Melamed, “Once Again about Avrom Abchiuk’s Fate,” in: Narod knigi v mire knig, vol. 130. Saint-Petersburg, October 2017.
(Меламед Е. Еще раз о судьбе Аврома Абчука)

These two articles are about the Soviet Yiddish writer and critic Avrom Abciuk (1897-1937), who was a victim of Stalin’s repressions and was executed in 1937. The articles include archival materials related to Abchiuk’s arrest and sentence.

Milkhail Krutikov, “Raisn: ‘Belarus’ in Yiddish Modernist Poetry,” in: The Shtetl of Hlybokaye in Contemporary Cultural Memory. Moscow, 2017. Pp. 141-150.
(Крутиков М. Райсн: “Беларусь” в модернистской поэзии на идише)

This article examines the image of Belarus in the works of the modernist poets Moyshe Kulbak, Leyb Naydus, Elkhonen Vogler, and Moyshe Teyf. The author analyzes the specific role of the landscape and regional cultural activity in the selected poems.

Mikhail Krutikov, “Soviet Jewish Folkloristics in the Ideological Context of the 1930s,” in: Sovetskaya iudaika: istoria, problematika, personalii, ed. by M. Kupovetsky. Jerusalem; Moscow: Gesharim / Mosty kultury, 2017. Pp. 118-135.
(Крутиков М. Советская еврейская фольклористика в идеологическом контексте 30-х гг.)

The article analyzes the Soviet Yiddish scholar Meir Wiener’s 1932 monograph about Jewish folklore studies, as well as the ways 1930s scholarship adjusted to Soviet ideological demands.

Gennady Estraikh, “(Inter)nationalism in Peretz Markish’s Writing: the Role of Literary-Critical Interface in Yiddish Literature,” in: Sovetskaya iudaika: istoria, problematika, personalii, ed. by M. Kupovetsky. Jerusalem; Moscow: Gesharim / Mosty kultury, 2017. Pp. 136-156.
(Эстрайх Г. (Интер)национализм в творчестве Переца Маркиша. О роли литературоведческого интерфейса в еврейской литературе)

The article examines national and international elements in the works of the Soviet Yiddish modernist poet Peretz Markish, as well as the connections between the poet and Soviet literary critics.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova, “Two Translations of The Nag (Di Klyatche): History, Authors, and Stylistic Specifics,” in: Tirosh, Studies in Judaica, vol. 17. Moscow, 2018. Pp. 74-90.
(Кузнецова Е., Два перевода “Клячи”: история, авторы, стилистические особенности)

In 1890 Abramovitch’s novel Di klyatche was translated into Russian twice. These two translations were completely independent: one was translated by the young writer Ivan Bunin for a local daily newspaper, and the other one was done by the original author’s son Mikhail Abramovitch for the St.Petersburg-based journal Voskhod. Presumably, it was the first Russian translation of Yiddish fiction. The author analyzes and compares the translations in the article, as well as forwarding an argument about why this particular work drew so much attention.

Sofya Loyter, “My Name is Zalmen” (Notes about Jewish Children’s Folklore and Its Fate), in: Zhivaya starina, no. 3, 2018. Pp. 40-43.
(Лойтер С. “Звать меня Залман” (заметки о еврейском детском фольклоре и его судьбе))

The article discusses Yiddish folklore for children, such as songs, poems, and games. The author shows that information about the life of Jewish children in the 19th and 20th centuries can be inferred from this folklore.

Ber Kotlerman, “Whoever Has Seen Jackals on the Ruins of Our Mountain Will See How They Build There Yet”: Der Nister on Jewish “Nation Building” after the Holocaust,” in: Judaic Slavic Journal, no. 1, 2018. Pp. 85-102.
(Котлерман Б. «Кто видел шакалов на развалинах нашей горы, тот еще увидит, как там будут строить»: Дер Нистер о еврейском «национальном доме» после Холокоста)

In the article, Ber Kotlerman (Bar-Ilan University) analyzes Der Nister’s little-known essays from the 1940s where he speaks about Jewish homelessness and questions Jewish (especially Soviet Jewish) national identity. The author combines remarkable biographical and historical facts with a thorough literary analysis, offering a valuable perspective on Der Nister’s legacy and the history of Soviet Jewry.

Mikhail Krutikov, “Please Tickle Your Muse a Little Bit”: On the Correspondence between Sholem Aleichem and Judah Leib Gordon, in: Judaic Slavic Journal, no. 1, 2018. Pp. 139-153.
(Крутиков М. «Пощекочите немного свою музу». К переписке Шолом-Алейхема с Иегудой-Лейбом Гордоном)

This article by Mikhail Krutikov introduces the translation of Sholem Aleichem and Yehuda-Leib Gordon’s correspondence, which was originally written in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian. In this correspondence, the two Jewish writers discuss topical problems of Jewish literary and cultural life in 1880-1890, including the disputes about Jewish languages. The author brings attention to the historical context of the correspondence and analyzes other publications by Sholem Aleichem in order to present a well-rounded image of the state of Yiddish and attitudes towards it among Jewish literati during the 1880s.

Gennady Estraikh, “A Shard of Kultur-lige: The Kiev Jewish Literary Group ‘Boi’,” in: Narod knigi v mire knig, vol. 141, August 2019.
(Эстрайх Г. Осколок “Культур-лиги”. Киевская еврейская литературная группа “Бой”)

The literary group “Boi” (Yiddish: building - the word reflecting Russian stroi that became popular in the period of intensive industrialization in the 1920s) was established in 1927. Among its members were Leyb Kvitko, Ezra Fininberg, David Volkenshtein and other Soviet Yiddish poets and writers. The group existed for around two years and was, along with some other similar groups and unions, “a shard” of Kultur-lige.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova, “‘Vi in posek shteyt geshribn’: On the Problem of Translating Quotations of the Sacred Texts in Tevye the Dairyman into Russian,” Judaic Slavic Journal, no. 2, 2019. Pp. 11-37. In print.
(Кузнецова Е., Vi in posek shteyt geshribn: проблема перевода на русский язык цитат из священных текстов в «Тевье-молочнике»).

The article focuses on the problem of translating Biblical Hebrew (and some Aramaic) quotes in Sholem Aleichem’s works into Russian. The author places this translation problem into a broader context by examining several different translations of Sholem Aleichem into English and Hebrew. The article explains how different translation strategies influence the characters and the work in general, often simplifying or distorting the original intention.

Special Issues

Narod knigi v mire knig, no. 115. April, 2015.

This issue of the St.Petersburg magazine “The People of the Book in the World of Books” is titled “To the 150th Anniversary of Chaim Zhitlowsky” and contains chapters from Zhitlowsky’s autobiography translated by Alexander Frenkel and an article by the German scholar Kay Schweigmann-Greve, “Chaim Zhitlowsky: Philosopher, Social-Revolutionary, and Theoretician of a Secular National Identity.”

Lechaim, no. 5, Moscow, May 2016.

Sholem Aleichem appears on the cover of Lekhaim, a journal dedicated to all aspects of Jewish life in Russia. The editorial board celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the classic Yiddish author’s death by publishing several new materials: an article by Vera Knorring about rare editions of Sholem Aleichem’s works; and interview about the role of the writer in Russian-Jewish culture with leading specialists on Jewish literature and art (Gennady Estraikh, Grigoriy Kazovskiy, Galina Eliasberg, and Mariya Gadas); and the first Russian translation of the story “Velvl Gambetta.”

Narod knigi v mire knig, no. 139, Saint Petersburg, April 2019.

The issue is dedicated to Itsik Manger and the 50th anniversary of his death. It includes the first Russian translation of Manger’s essay “Di balade - di vizie fun blut” into Russian (by Ekaterina Kuznetsova); an article about Manger’s life and works by Valery Dymshits; and translations of Manger’s poems by Valery Dymshits, Igor Bulatovskiy, and Ruth Levin.

Translations

NB: for translations published in 2018 see this bibliography.

Хаим Граде, Цемах Атлас. Пер. В. Чернина. Книжники, 2014.

The first volume of Chaim Grade’s novel Tsemakh Atlas, translated by Velvl Chernin.

Исаак Башевис Зингер, Поместье. Кн. 1 и 2. Пер. И. Некрасова. Книжники, 2014.

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s epic novels about Jewish life in Poland The Manor and The Estate, translated by Isroel Nekrasov.

Исроэл-Иешуа Зингер, Жемчуг. Пер. А. Фруман. Книжники, 2014.

A collection of early stories by Israel Joshua Singer, translated by Asya Fruman.

Исроэл Рабон, Улица. Пер. под ред. В. Дымшица. Книжники, 2014.

The translation of Rabon’s novel The Street (Di gas) by several translators, edited by Valery Dymshits.

Цена-у-Рэна, Бемидбар, Дварим. Книжники, 2014.

Цена-у-Рэна, Шмот, Ваикра. Книжники, 2014.

The Russian translation of a widespread religious Yiddish book Tsena-u-rena, written by Jacob ben Isaac Ashkenazi in the 17th century, continues the first volume “Bereshit” translated and published in 2012.

Исроэл-Иешуа Зингер, Йоше-телок. Пер. А. Фруман. Книжники, 2014.

Israel Joshua Singer’s novel Yoshe-kalb, translated by Asya Fruman.


Лев Квитко, Лям и Петрик. Пер. Я. Тайца и Л. Юдкевича. Книжники, 2015.

A new publication of the Soviet translation of Kvitko’s novel Lyam un Petrik about the friendship of a Jewish and an Ukrainian boy.

Авром Суцкевер, Там, где ночуют звезды. Пер. И. Некрасова. Книжники, 2015.

This collection of short stories by Avrom Sutskever, entitled “Where the Stars Sleep,” contains the first Russian translations of many of the poet’s works.

Исаак Башевис Зингер, Тени над Гудзоном. Пер. В. Чернина. Книжники, 2015.

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel Shadows on the Hudson (Shotns baym Hodson) portrays the life of Jewish immigrants in the USA in the 1940s.

Хаим Граде, Синагога и улица. Пер. В. Чернина. Книжники, 2015.

This collection of stories by Chaim Grade includes four stories about Jewish life in Vilnius during the interwar period.

Иосиф Опатошу, Последний в семье. Пер. В. Федченко. Книжники, 2015.

Opatoshu’s novel The Last in the Family, translated by Valentina Fedchenko, is the last book of the trilogy In Polish Woods (In poylishe velder). The first two books were published in Russian in 2011 and 2013.

Залман Шнеур, Дядя Зяма. Пер. под ред. В. Дымшица. Книжники, 2015.

This collection of stories by Zalman Shneur builds on the 2012 publication of his novel The Shklov Jews (Shklover yidn) in Russian translation. The stories in this book depict life in a Belorussian shtetl in the beginning of the 20th century.

Миша Лев, Горит свеча в моей памяти. Пер. Маши Рольникайте и Валерия Дымшица. Книжники, 2015.

A translation by Masha Rolnikaite and Valery Dymshits of the Soviet Jewish writer Misha Lev’s non-fiction essays about his childhood in Kharkov and Moscow in the 1930s.


Ури Цви Гринберг, Не угаснет душа. Стихотворения и поэма. Пер. Х. Дашевского. Водолей, 2016.

Translations of expressionist poems by Uri-Zvi Greenberg.

Исроэл-Иешуа Зингер, На чужой земле. Пер. И. Некрасова. Книжники, 2016.

This volume is a translated collection of stories by Israel Joshua Singer written in 1920s Warsaw.

Исаак Башевис Зингер, Пена. Пер. И. Некрасова. Книжники, 2016.

Bashevis’ novel Shoym was published in Forverts in 1967.

Самуил Гордон, В пятницу вечером. Книжники, 2017.

A collection of stories and sketches by the Soviet Yiddish writer Shmuel Gordon, some of which he translated himself.

Борис Сандлер, Экспресс-36. Пер. А. Френкеля. Книжники, 2017.

The novel Express 36 by the contemporary Yiddish writer Boris Sandler portrays the mystical journeys of Moldavian emigrants.

Исаак Башевис Зингер, Кукареку. Пер. Л. Беринского. Книжники, 2017.

Most of previously available translations of Bashevis’ short stories into Russian were made from English. For this volume, the contemporary Yiddish poet Lev Berinsky made new translations from the original.

Исаак Башевис Зингер, Шоша. Экспедиции души. Пер. В. Федченко. Книжники, 2017.

Bashevis’ novel Shosha (Neshomes ekspeditsies) was published in Yiddish in 1974. It only recently became available to the Russian readership thanks to this translation by Valentina Fedchenko.


Бениамин Бранд, Из прошлого. Пер. А. Ройзин. ИТРК, 2019.

This book, the memoirs of the doctor and journalist Benjamin Brand, is the most recent volume published bilingually in Yiddish and Russian. Brand wrote about the life of Soviet Jews, tracing the narrative of his own life from a Jewish school in Kharkiv, to his first encounters with Yiddish literary circles in Ukraine, to Birobidzhan and his work for Sovetish heymland.

Шолом-Алейхем, Мальчик Мотл. Пер. М. Шамбадала. Детская литература, 2019.

Шолом-Алейхем, Мальчик Мотл в Америке. Пер. М. Шамбадала. Детская литература, 2019.

Шолом-Алейхем, Мальчик Мотл в Европе. Пер. М. Шамбадала. Детская литература, 2019.

Шолом-Алейхем, Тевье-молочник. Пер. М. Шамбадала. Детская литература, 2019.

New editions of Soviet translations of Sholem Aleichem’s Motl and Tevye the Dairyman by Mikhail Shambadal.

Translations published in journals:

Narod knigi v mire knig

Шолом-Алейхем, Дядя Пиня и тетя Рейзя. Пер. Б. Котлермана. Февраль, 2016.

Шолом-Алейхем, Из-за фуражки. Пер. В. Дымшица. Июнь, 2016.

Шолом-Алейхем, Что такое Ханука? Пер. Ю. Закона. Декабрь, 2016.

Шолом-Алейхем, Четыре бокала. Пер. А. Френкеля. Апрель, 2017.

Менделе Мойхер-Сфорим, Последнее предисловие дедушки. Пер. Ю. Закона. Декабрь, 2017.

Шолом-Алейхем, Кидалто ве-кидашто. Пер. А. Френкеля. Апрель, 2018.

Lekhaim

Шолом-Алейхем, Пасхальная экспроприация. Пер. Б. Горина. Март, 2015.

Шолом-Алейхем, Велвл Гамбетта. Пер. Б. Горина. Май, 2016.

Judaic Slavic Journal, no. 1, 2018. Pp. 154-178.

Давид Розенсон, Творчество Исаака Бабеля в автобиографическом, мемуарном и иудейском контекстах. РГГУ, 2014.

The PhD dissertation “The Works of Isaac Babel in the Contexts of Autobiography, Memoirs, and Judaism” by David Rozenson does not belong entirely to the field of Yiddish Studies, since Babel wrote in Russian. However, the study discusses important connections between Russian and Yiddish literatures in the 20th century.

Кирилл Шишигин, Словообразовательная система гибридного языка: формирование, развитие и функционирование. На материале префиксальных глаголов идиша. Кемеровский государственный университет, 2015.

The doctoral dissertation “The Morphological Derivation System of a Hybrid Language: Formation, Development, and Functioning. Based on Yiddish Prefixed Verbs” by linguist Kirill Shishigin from Kemerovo State University became the basis for the aforementioned book about Yiddish as a hybrid language.

Оксана Бадер, Сравнительная характеристика глаголов с префиксом er- в немецком языке и префиксами der- в идише. СО РАН, Новосибирск, 2016.

The PhD dissertation by Oksana Bader (Novosibirsk) “The Comparative Characteristics of the Verbs with the Prefix er- in the German Language and the Verbs with the Prefixes der- in Yiddish.”

MLA STYLE
Kuznetsova, Ekaterina. “Yiddish Studies in Russian: 2014–2019.” In geveb, May 2020: https://ingeveb.org/blog/yiddish-studies-in-russian-2014-2019.
CHICAGO STYLE
Kuznetsova, Ekaterina. “Yiddish Studies in Russian: 2014–2019.” In geveb (May 2020): Accessed Sep 19, 2020.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ekaterina Kuznetsova

Ekaterina Kuznetsova is a PhD student at the Regensburg University.