1943 - Yitskhok Bashevis' Magical Year of Demons, Feuilletons and American Citizenship
Time & Location
About the Event
During 1943, with the relentlessly tragic news about the genocide of the European Jews, the Yiddish writer Yitskhok Bashevis (later known as I.B.Singer) published 'Satan in Goray and Other Stories' in New York. In addition to the reprint of his debut novel, the book featured a series of monologues narrated by 'the Evil one'. This is the beginning of Bashevis' demonological work.
The same year, Yitskhok Varshavsky, one of Bashevis' journalistic pseudonyms, continued his prolific output as feuilleton writer at the Forverts, the main Yiddish newspaper in the US. In his personal life, 1943 was a turning point as well: he became an American citizen and received the devasting news that his mother and youngest brother had perished in the Soviet Gulag.
The lecture will examine the annus mirabilis in Bashevis' literary career in the context of his prolific output as journalist and fiction writer, and relationship to his two siblings, the Yiddish writers Ester Kreitman and I.J. Singer.
Professor Jan Schwarz received his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1997 in the fields of Yiddish and Comparative Literature. He previously was a Senior Lecturer at University of Chicago, 2003-2011, and Assistant Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1998-2002. Since 2011, he has been Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies at Lund University, Sweden, the only academic position in the field of Yiddish in Scandinavia. He is the author of two scholarly monographs about Yiddish culture and literature, Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers (2005) and Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust (2015). He has published articles and edited volumes as well as lectured widely about Yiddish, Jewish American and Scandinavian literatures, world literature and translation, and Jewish responses to the Holocaust.