By Naomi Seidman
With remarkably unique formulations, Naomi Seidman examines the ways in which Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, and Yiddish, the vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, got here to symbolize the masculine and female faces, respectively, of Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. Her refined historical past is the 1st book-length exploration of the sexual politics underlying the "marriage" of Hebrew and Yiddish, and it has profound implications for figuring out the centrality of language offerings and ideologies within the building of recent Jewish identification. Seidman fairly examines this sexual-linguistic approach because it formed the paintings of 2 bilingual authors, S.Y. Abramovitsh, the "grand-father" of recent Hebrew and Yiddish literature; and Dvora Baron, the 1st smooth lady author in Hebrew (and a author in Yiddish as well). She additionally presents an research of the jobs that Hebrew "masculinity" and Yiddish "femininity" performed within the Hebrew-Yiddish language wars, the divorce that finally ended the wedding among the languages.
Theorists have lengthy debated the position of mom and dad within the child's dating to language. Seidman provides the Ashkenazic case as an illuminating instance of a society during which "mother tongue" and "father tongue" are sincerely differentiated. Her paintings speaks to special concerns in modern scholarship, together with the psychoanalysis of language acquisition, the feminist critique of Zionism, and the nexus of women's stories and Yiddish literary background.
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Extra resources for A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society)
No, It's a Legitimate [or "right") Love Affair," the cartoon is entitled. The dialogue is provided underneath: Copynghted matenal Engendering Audiences I HEBREW: Who's that, Chayim Nachman, an illegitimate (or "left"] love? YIDDISH: Don't get upset, madame, Chayim Nachman knows me since he was a child! 33 The cartoon presents visual dues to differentiate the two types of women/languages: the biblical headdress for Hebrew, the apron for Yiddish. The artist also uses wordplay to make a point about the political affiliations of the languages.
Bilingual Hebrew-Yiddish texts graphically demonstrate their hierarchical assumptions by placing the Hebrew at the top of the page, even when the Yiddish is the original and Hebrew the translation (as in Nachman's tales). As Grade shows, the class and gender dimensions of Yiddish-Hebrew differences cannot be easily separated. The category of women, as in "for women and men who are like women," used gender to account for differences between uneducated and educated men, differences that often corresponded to class.
Abramovitsh's bestknown character, Mendele, in the role of a Yiddish writer, compares himself to Hebrew writers in terms of relative masculinity. In the Yiddish version of The Travels of Benjamin the Third, Mendele, the "compiler and editor" and apparently also the "cook" of the Yiddish book, describes his work as merely a temporary summary of Benjamin's adventures until the Hebrew writers rise to their task and do the job right. Copynghted matenal The Transsexual Imagination I 43 So I said to myself: until my brothers the Hebrew writers, whose little fingers are thicker than my loins, wake from their deep sleep to transcribe the story of the travels of Benjamin from the beginning to the end for the good of all Israel, I will try to print a short version of them as a temporary measure.
A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society) by Naomi Seidman