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TALK | The Extraordinary Voyages of the Yiddish Jules Verne, with Sebastian Schulman
Whether it was on the Lower East Side of New York or in the shtetlekh of Eastern Europe, Yiddish speakers were voracious readers of Jules Verne (1828-1905), the 19th century’s most celebrated author of science fiction. With stories of adventure that crossed borders and investigated new technologies, these books had a direct appeal for Yiddish readers that were daily faced by the challenges of industrialization and mass immigration. But does Jules Verne en français really resemble his counterpart af yidish? This presentation will explore how Verne’s Yiddish translators reshaped the writer, at once domesticating him to fit the norms of Jewish readership, while at the same time using Verne to advance a message of modernization, science, and empire to their supposedly backward and superstitious readers. Based on close readings across several languages, this lecture will show how these processes created a distinctly Yiddish “Zhul Vern,” a member of the Jewish literary pantheon that was related to, but somehow very different from his Parisian namesake.

This is program is co-sponsored with the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

This live event will be presented via Zoom and will stream live on the Yiddish Book Center's Facebook page. Space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience—which will allow you to submit questions—registration is required.

Jan 7, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Sebastian Schulman
Sebastian Schulman is the Executive Director of KlezKanada, one of the world's leading organizations in Yiddish culture and Jewish music. He has served on the Jewish Studies faculty at Smith College and was the founding director of translation initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center. His original writing, scholarship, and translations from Yiddish, Esperanto, and other languages have appeared in "Words Without Borders," "Tupelo Quarterly," "The Forward," and elsewhere. Schulman's translation of Spomenka Stimec’s Esperanto-language novel "Croatian War Nocturnal" was published by Phoneme Media in 2017. He lives in Montréal, Québec.