Discipline and Publish: Jews, the Logic of the State, and the Beginning of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in Eastern Europe (1806-1845)
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CitationDynes, Ofer. 2016. Discipline and Publish: Jews, the Logic of the State, and the Beginning of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in Eastern Europe (1806-1845). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractJews, the Logic of the State, and the Beginning of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature in Eastern Europe (1806-1845) investigates and connects two historical phenomena: The rise of modern Jewish literature in Eastern Europe, and the encounter of Polish Jews with the modern imperial state. I examine the rise of Yiddish and Hebrew literature both within an internal Jewish framework, as well as a response to the transformation of Jewish society in the wake of Poland’s partitions (1773-1795), under imperial rule. This project shows how literature became one of the central venues for negotiating the encounter with the logic and practices of modern imperial states. If we want to understand the emergence of Jewish literature, I argue, we need to look to the rise of the modern state. By extension, if we want to understand how Jews made sense of the state, we need to investigate Jewish literature.
At the center of my project is a theorization of how political concerns structured the emergence of narratological structures, and how political forms shaped the nascent Jewish literary forms. For example, I show how, when the Austrian authorities suppressed the publication of legal texts in Hebrew, Jewish enlighteners turned to literature as a venue to communicate legal knowledge to the Jewish population. Another chapter explores how the rise of the secret police shaped Hebrew epistolary prose. Combining an analysis of both newly interpreted sources as well as unpublished archival documents, my project broadens the canon of Jewish political thinking and challanges the way in which we understand the Jewish encounter with the centralized state and its logic in the wake of Poland’s partitions
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33840755
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