“Daytsh iz dokh Yidish:” Sholem Aleichem’s Motl the Cantor’s Son as Born-Translated Literature

Michael Boyden


"What makes Sholem Aleichem’s story so interesting, apart from the fact that it evokes eerie associations with the plight of migrants in the present age, is that it chronicles the tragic demise of Eastern European Jewish life through the eyes of the widow’s youngest son Motl, whose comic observations contrast sharply with the gravity of the events but also undermine the taken-for-granted conjunction between language, territory, and identity that is at the heart of debates about world literature today."

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