Buenos Aires had already passed its brief heyday as a Yiddish publishing center when the journalist, Yiddishist, communist, literary scholar, and teacher Mimi Pinzón (1910–1975) published her autobiographical novel, Der hoyf on fentster (The Courtyard without Windows; 1965). The novel tells an immigrant coming-of-age story set in a conventillo (Argentine tenement). Central to the novel's action—and politics—is the conventillo's hoyf, or courtyard, a space of radical, multilingual possibility that stands in contrast to the often brutal repression—psychological and physical—of the monolingual state. In Yiddish, the novel crafts a miniature, multilingual Argentina that finds its "nationhood" in loose networks of humane solidarity. I argue that Pinzón's choice to articulate this radical linguistic vision in a language that would soon be inaccessible to all but a handful of readers—her insistence on minor language maintenance, her willingness to risk noncirculation—models an expansive vision of world literature that broadens our understanding of this concept.


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pp. 167-189
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