Publication Date

April 2018

Advisor(s)

Martin Baeumel

Major

College of Letters, German Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between Jewish nationalism and the development of Yiddish folkloristics in the early 20th century through analysis of folktales collected by two Yiddish folklorists between 1908 and 1938. After contextualizing the emergence of Yiddish folkloristics within the framework of European nationalism and Jewish responses to modernism, I conduct close readings of four folktales, two collected by Y.L. Cahan and two collected by Shmuel Lehman. Through this analysis, I explore the complicated relationship between the transnational Jewish narrative and the individual experiences of local, diasporic communities, and demonstrate the significance of stories as identity-producing phenomena.

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