"Engenia Prokop-Janiec has produced an indispensable study of the literature written by Polish Jews in the interwar period. . . . There have been very few studies that systematically address such important issues as the history of Jewish literature, the Jewish press, or Jewish education. Prokop-Janiec's work is more than a step in the right direction; it is an excellent example of the work of the finest of a new generation of Polish scholars in the field of Jewish studies. . . . Prokop-Janiec's work highlights the process of acculturation for Jews in interwar Poland. This acculturation has long been recognized, but only detailed studies such as this one indicate the extent of acculturation and the personal costs involved . . . Polish-Jewish Literature in the Interwar Years , essential for both literary scholars and historians of the period, aids us in understanding how Jewish writers helped to form the linguistic community and how their work changed both Polish and Jewish Cultures."—The Polish Review
Foremost among a recent wave of Polish books on Jewish issues, this groundbreaking work
rectifies long-held misconceptions about Polish Jewish writers.
Popular notion has it that Polish Jewish writers, unlike their counterparts in Western. Northern, and Central Europe, wrote solely in Yiddish or Hebrew. Yet between the two world wars Poland produced an elite group of assimilated Jews who wrote exclusively in Polish. Theirs was not an easy lot. Torn between love of Poland and its literature and their own Jewish identity, they straddled a fine line between two cultural worlds-at once advocating acculturation while prey to virulent anti-Semitism.
This pioneering, award-winning volume examines the emergence and development of these writers, their personal plight, and the profound effect they had upon Polish letters and poetry. Meticulously researched, it explores the role of language as a bridge, attitudes toward Polish writing, impact of the ghetto, and the transformation of Polish into a force for its Jewish populace. Finally, it pays homage to fine literary voices silenced by the Holocaust.
About the Author
Eugenia Prokop-Janiec teaches modern Polish literature at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. She is the editor of the anthology Polish-Jewish Poetry in the Interwar Years.
Abe Shenitzer is professor emeritus in the department of mathematics and statistics of York University, Ontario, Canada.
Series: Judaic Traditions in Literature, Music, and Art
6 x 9, 288 pages