Matthew Johnson

Ohio State University

Matthew Johnson is Senior Lecturer and Director of Yiddish and Ashkenazic Studies at Ohio State University. He is currently working on a book project, Faltering Language: On German-Yiddish Literature, which demonstrates how the intersection between German and Yiddish became an important but largely forgotten site of cultural production from around 1900 to the present. He has also written on topics such as Moyshe-Leyb Halpern’s unfinished poetry, the reception history of Glikl’s memoirs, and Paul Celan’s translation of an essay by James Baldwin. He has further contributed to the exhibition “Die Wiener Rothschilds. Ein Krimi” at the Jewish Museum Vienna and co-organized two national conferences on the work of the composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold and on the concept of “linguistic homelands” in modern Hebrew, Yiddish, and German literature. Johnson received his Ph.D. from the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago in 2022. He previously studied at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, the Freie Universität Berlin, and New York University. His research has been supported by the Fulbright Commission, the IFK (Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften) in Vienna, the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, the Yiddish Book Center, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Posen Society of Fellows, and the Austrian Cultural Forum. He also serves as an elected member of the executive committee of the LLC Yiddish Forum at the Modern Language Association.



Reading as the Shaping Force of Life: Debora Vogel’s Contributions to Education

Anna Maja Misiak

Translation by Matthew Johnson

The writer and educator Debora Vogel contended with questions raised by avant-garde art in the 1920s and 1930s and, throughout her writings, repeated the following question as a leitmotiv: What does “life” mean and which forms does it assume? This article considers how Vogel engaged with these questions about form in various essays and in her educational work at the Jewish orphanage at Zborowska 8 in Lwów.


Confessions of a Yiddish Writer and Other Essays: An Interview with Goldie Morgentaler

Matthew Johnson and Corbin Allardice

Matthew Johnson and Corbin Allardice talk with Goldie Morgentaler, Chava Rosenfarb’s daughter and editor and translator of a recently published collection of Rosenfarb’s essays. 


Miriam Udel’s Never Better! The Modern Jewish Picaresque

Matthew Johnson

Miriam Udel’s new book travels with the genre of the picaresque from the shtetl to the USA to the USSR and brings it into the twentieth century.