Di kliatshe, a novella published in 1873 by Sholem Yankev Abramovitsh, has been credited as one of the first literary works to register the failure of the Haskalah to achieve Jewish integration into Russian society. However, analysis of the literary and historical contexts in which this work emerged shows how Di kliatshe also engaged in a subtle literary dialogue with non-Jewish authors in order to promote a radical ethical position on the question of human and animal suffering. The awareness of a dimension of suffering in which Jews and animals are equivalent provides an alternative account to the conventional debate on the Jewish Question. Instead of a formal affirmation of universal human rights, in Abramovitsh's work the relation to questions of Jewish identity remains informal and marked by attentiveness to the dehumanized aspects of Jewish existence.


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pp. 24-47
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