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Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912628.001.0001

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Naomi Brenner, Lingering Bilingualism: Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures in Contact. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2016. 292 pp.

Naomi Brenner, Lingering Bilingualism: Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures in Contact. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2016. 292 pp.

Chapter:
Naomi Brenner, Lingering Bilingualism: Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures in Contact. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2016. 292 pp.
Source:
Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
Author(s):
Richard I. Cohen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190912628.003.0055

This chapter reviews the book Lingering Bilingualism: Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures in Contact (2016), by Naomi Brenner. In Lingering Bilingualism, Brenner tells the story of maskilim who used a combination of Hebrew and Russian (or Hebrew and German) in their writings, while other Jewish writers and intellectuals wrote in the two “Jewish” languages, Yiddish and Hebrew. According to Brenner, although most writers opted to choose either Hebrew or Yiddish, “there was a third choice available to interwar writers [...] to continue writing in Hebrew and Yiddish. Despite the radical transformations of the Eastern European world in which traditional Jewish bilingualism had thrived, individual bilingualism remained a viable option for a small group of writers.” Brenner coined the term “lingering bilingualism” and uses many examples to make a good case for this phenomenon. She also explores one key event: the 1927 visit of Sholem Asch and Perets Hirshbeyn to Palestine.

Keywords:   Bilingualism, Lingering Bilingualism, Hebrew literature, Yiddish literature, Naomi Brenner, Jewish writers, Yiddish, Hebrew, Sholem Asch, Perets Hirshbeyn

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