Splendor, Decline, and Rediscovery of Yiddish in Latin America


Editors: Malena Chinski and Alan Astro
Splendor, Decline, and Rediscovery of Yiddish in Latin America presents Yiddish culture as it developed in an area seldom associated with the language. Yet several countries—Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay—became centers for Yiddish literature, journalism, political activism, theater, and music. Chapters by historians, linguists, and literary critics explore the flourishing of Yiddish there in the early 20th century, its retraction in the 1960’s, and contemporary endeavors to rescue this marginalized legacy.

Topics discussed in the volume include the literary figures of the “Jewish gaucho” and the peddler; the regional Yiddish press; the communal struggle against trafficking in women; cultural responses to the Holocaust; intra-Jewish conflict during the Cold War; debates on assimilation versus tradition; and emergent postvernacular Yiddish.

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Biographical Note

Malena Chinski, Ph.D. (Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, 2017), is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Council for Technical and Scientific Research (CONICET). She has published on Shoah commemoration in Buenos Aires, Yiddish book publication in Argentina, and family correspondence in Yiddish.

Alan Astro, Ph.D. (Yale, 1985), is professor at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) and author of articles on Bashevis, Baudelaire, Beckett, and Borges. He is the editor of Yiddish South of the Border: An Anthology of Latin American Yiddish Writing (University of New Mexico Press, 2003).


This book is for those interested in Yiddish, Latin America, and modern Jewish life, in particular; as well as in minority literatures, identity, and acculturation, in general. Historians, literary critics and linguists will find much of concern to them here.

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