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Yiddish Modernisms: Red Emma Goldman

From: MFS Modern Fiction Studies
Volume 51, Number 2, Summer 2005
pp. 456-481 | 10.1353/mfs.2005.0045


This essay considers the Jewish and/or Yiddish presence within the debates around art and politics that underlie the development of modernism, particularly in the United States. To do so, it focuses on the figure of Emma Goldman, whose work and life played out the debate, often in the Yiddish language. Particular attention is given to parallel texts in Yiddish and English that address the topic of art and politics. Goldman is brought into view both for what she can offer to a more expansive understanding of the modernist movement and, as the essay suggests, for the resonance with the current discussions of ethics and aesthetics that she and her anarchist cohort provide.

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