Jacob Glatstein was a central figure in the American Yiddish world of the twentieth century, a celebrated modernist poet and cultural critic whose writing spanned the gap between interwar modernism and postwar recovery. In this talk, professors Sunny Yudkoff (University of Wisconsin–Madison) and Saul Zaritt (Harvard University) will share from their research on Glatstein, discussing a range of texts that demonstrate Glatstein’s sustained and ever-changing creativity, his theorization of Yiddish as a language of art and folk, and his complex meditations on the convergence of Jewish life and the modern world. To focus our conversation, we’ll read a series of texts that mark out different periods in Glatstein’s life, poetic experimentation, and understanding of what it means to write in Yiddish in American. These include the poems “1919” (1919), “Good Night World” (1938), “A Sunday Shtetl” (1956), and a selection from Glatstein’s reflections on Yiddish in world literature.
The Great Jewish Books Lecture Series gives learners of all ages the opportunity to delve into great works of Jewish literature with top scholars in the field. Each month, a speaker presents a virtual talk focusing on an author or work, followed by a Q&A with the audience. These talks span a wide variety of literary subjects, presenting works written in many languages from classic Yiddish texts to contemporary Jewish American writing.
The Great Jewish Books Lecture Series is made possible with the generous support of the Salkind Family Foundation in memory of Marilyn Salkind.