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Inventing the Modern Yiddish Stage
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While Yiddish theater is best known as popular entertainment, it has been shaped by its creators’ responses to changing social and political conditions. Inventing the Modern Yiddish Stage: Essays in Drama, Performance, and Show Business showcases the diversity of modern Yiddish theater by focusing on the relentless and far-ranging capacity of its performers, producers, critics, and audiences for self-invention. Editors Joel Berkowitz and Barbara Henry have assembled essays from leading scholars that trace the roots of modern Yiddish drama and performance in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe and span a century and a half and three continents, beyond the heyday of a Yiddish stage that was nearly eradicated by the Holocaust, to its post-war life in Western Europe and Israel. Each chapter takes its own distinct approach to its subject and is accompanied by an appendix consisting of primary material, much of it available in English translation for the first time, to enrich readers’ appreciation of the issues explored and also to serve as supplementary classroom texts. Chapters explore Yiddish theater across geography—from Poland and Russia to France, the United States, Argentina, and Israel and Palestine. Readers will spend time with notable individuals and troupes; meet creators, critics, and audiences; sample different dramatic genres; and learn about issues that preoccupied both artists and audiences. The final section presents an extensive bibliography of book-length works and scholarly articles on Yiddish drama and theater, the most comprehensive resource of its kind available. Collectively these essays illuminate the modern Yiddish stage as a phenomenon that was constantly reinventing itself and simultaneously examining and questioning that very process. Scholars of Jewish performance and those interested in theater history will appreciate this wide-ranging volume.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half-title
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  1. Title
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  1. Copyright
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Note on Transliteration
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-24
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  1. Part I. Origins, Influences, and Evolution
  2. pp. 25-26
  1. 1. Between Two Worlds: Antitheatricality and the Beginnings of Modern Yiddish Theatre
  2. pp. 27-39
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  1. 2. The Salon and the Tavern: Yiddish Folk Poetry of the Nineteenth Century
  2. pp. 40-63
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  1. 3. Jacob Gordin in Russia: Fact and Fiction
  2. pp. 64-84
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  1. Part II. Toward a Jewish Stage
  2. pp. 85-86
  1. 4. Translations of Karl Gutzkow’s Uriel Acosta as Iconic Moments in Yiddish Theatre
  2. pp. 87-115
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  1. 5. “Cosmopolitan” or “Purely Jewish?”: Zygmunt Turkow and the Warsaw Yiddish Art Theatre
  2. pp. 116-135
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  1. 6. From Boston to Mississippi on the Warsaw Yiddish Stage
  2. pp. 136-158
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  1. Part III. Authors, Actors, and Audiences
  2. pp. 159-160
  1. 7. Patriotn and Their Stars: Male Youth Culture in the Galleries of the New York Yiddish Theatre
  2. pp. 161-183
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  1. 8. Liquor and Leisure: The Business of Yiddish Vaudeville
  2. pp. 184-201
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  1. 9. “Gvald, Yidn, Buena Gente”: Jevel Katz, Yiddish Bard of the Río de la Plata
  2. pp. 202-222
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  1. Part IV. Recoveries and Reconstructions
  2. pp. 223-224
  1. 10. Reconstructing a Yiddish Theatre Score: Giacomo Minkowski and His Music to Alexander; or, the Crown Prince of Jerusalem
  2. pp. 225-250
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  1. 11. Sex and Scandal in the Encyclopedia of the Yiddish Theatre
  2. pp. 251-274
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  1. 12. Joy to the Goy and Happiness to the Jew: Communist and Jewish Aspirations in a Postwar Purimshpil
  2. pp. 275-294
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  1. 13. No Raisins and Almonds in the Land of Israel: A Tale of Goldfaden Productions Featuring Four Hotsmakhs, Three Kuni-Lemls, Two Shulamits, and One Messiah
  2. pp. 295-320
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  1. Notes on Contributors
  2. pp. 321-324
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 325-366
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 367-370
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 371-385
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  1. Back Cover
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