Chapter

Diasporic Address and Transnational Hebrew

Allison Schachter

in Diasporic Modernisms

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812639
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919413 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812639.003.0002
Diasporic Address and Transnational Hebrew

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This chapter examine Yosef Chaim Brenner’s Hebrew novel, Shekhol ve-khishalon (Breakdown and Bereavement). In the novel's fictional preface, the frame narrator, an emigrant on a boat from Port Said to Alexandria, absconds with a fellow emigrant’s Yiddish diaries and transforms them into a third-person Hebrew novel. The novel’s framing devices replicate the relations between Hebrew and Yiddish through a fractured narrative that calls into question the very possibility of narrative fiction. Whereas the novel’s frame explores the fraught multilingual conditions of literary production, the embedded narratives dramatize these conditions through the characters’ psychological crises. In Brenner’s novel, the various characters’ struggles with mental illness and suicide figure the larger linguistic and cultural crises of diasporic Jewish culture.

Keywords: Brenner; diaspora; Palestine; translation; Hebrew; Yiddish; modernism; Breakdown and Bereavement

Chapter.  12005 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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