Multilingual and Multicultural:
Four Blossoming Decades of Hebrew and Yiddish Texts for Jewish Children and Youth,
from 1880 through the 1920s
The workshop will be held at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich,
on July 22-23, 2020
Between the two last decades of the 19th century and the end of the First World War, the system of texts for Jewish children changed dramatically. Children's literature in Hebrew and Yiddish extended rapidly and included a wide variety of textbooks, short stories and novels, popular science texts, tales and poems. Publishing houses were established, mostly in Eastern Europe, which worked to expand the variety of texts for Jewish children in Hebrew as well as in Yiddish, such as Tushiya, Achiasaf, Moriah, Central, Progres, Bikher far ale, and Kletskin. New magazines for Jewish children and booklet series were also initiated, such as Olam Katon, Ha-chaim Ve-hateva, Mayselekh, Farn kleynem oylem and Grininke beymelekh. Thus, children’s literature included original writings, adaptations and translations.
This literary blossoming took place when significant political and social changes occurred in Jewish communities, and large Jewish social movements emerged. The urbanization process extended and a broad layer of middle class Jewry was formed. Emergent nationalism, including Zionism and Bundism, grew in power and became the driving force behind the need for new educational and literary material for Jewish children. This period was also marked by large emigration movements, and by the construction of new Jewish centers in America and in Palestine.
The system of texts for Jewish children and youth that was developed at the time expresses a range of ideological, political, social and cultural concepts, as well as shifts in concepts of childhood and education.
At the turn of the century, a multilingual system developed in Jewish communities, especially in Eastern Europe. Its organs were complementary: Jews used Yiddish, Hebrew and the local languages for various purposes, and many Jews spoke and wrote in several languages. There were many interactions and cultural intersections between literature, theater, and periodicals written in these languages. The system of texts for children and youth developed within this multilingual and multicultural structure. Its two main corpuses were texts in Hebrew and in Yiddish. Additionally, the local language, as well as other languages, were sometimes used in these texts.
In this workshop, we would like to explore the following:
- Who were the authors who created the textual system for Jewish children and youth during this period? Where were the main cultural centers of this activity located?
- Which literary genres were mainly used? What were the political-ideological contexts of this activity? Did this textual system reflect tensions between tradition and modernity?
- What connections were formed between different centers of Jewish children’s texts?
- What networks and contacts existed between the authors and publishers of Hebrew and Yiddish texts? Was there a cultural transfer of models from one to the other? Were there translations and adaptations of texts? In what direction? Was the activity in each of these fields exclusive, or were there collaborations between Hebrew and Yiddish authors or publishing houses? Are there cases of authors that were active in both fields?
- How did the texts written for Jewish children in the language of the state relate to corpuses of texts for Jewish children written in Hebrew and in Yiddish in the same geo-political sphere? Were there intertextual relations and references between texts written for Jewish children and the those written for non-Jewish children in a given state/place?
Please submit your paper abstract (300 words max.) to:
Dr. Evita Wiecki, Historisches Seminar an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität: email@example.com
Dr. Tal Kogman, The Program for the master degree in Research of Child and Youth, Culture School of Cultural Studies, Tel Aviv University: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for CFP: February 28, 2020