Yiddish Writer Sholem Asch Examined

May 18, 2008 at 6:17 pm Leave a comment

In the first half of the 20th century, Sholem Asch was the most popular Yiddish author in the world. Yet in later years, this celebrated writer, still considered one of the finest Yiddish authors, became so controversial that his work was banned in Jewish newspapers. What is his legacy today and does this writer, so deeply attached to his people, deserve a second reading? On Tuesday, May 20, at 1:30 p.m. Professor Emanuel Goldsmith will speak on “Sholem Asch Reconsidered” at the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills. Professor of Yiddish and Hebrew Literature at Queens College, Prof. Goldsmith is the author of several influential books on Yiddish culture.

Provocative, aggressive, and tireless in his search for new horizons, Asch, who began as the poet of the shtetl, nevertheless liberated Yiddish literature from these narrow confines. Deeply attached to the legacy of the Jewish past, which he portrayed in novels and plays, he also connected the modern Yiddish world to the mainstream of European and American culture, becoming the first Yiddish writer to enjoy a truly international vogue. He was one of the few novelists to write of the early days of settlement in Palestine at that time. In later years, he was accused of apostasy and of obscenity. Prof. Goldsmith will discuss the legacy of this controversial author and his work, fifty years after his death, within both the context of modern European literature and within the Jewish world.

Central Queens YM & YWHA, at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills. A donation of $4 is requested. For more information, call 718-268-5011, ext. 151, or email pkurtz@cqyjcc.org.

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Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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