Studies of the Simon Dubnow Institute

Volume 9

Die Rückkehr des Štetl

Russisch-jüdische Literatur der späten Sowjetzeit

Studies of the Dubnow Institute, Die Rückkehr des Štetl, 2008

Volume 9 in the Publication Series »Schriften des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts« is a study by Olaf Terpitz. It investigates one of the best-known topoi of Russian-Jewish history, the shtetl. His analysis does not deal, however, with the nineteen twenties, often associated with this topic, but rather the late Soviet era. In this context, Terpitz's analysis is oriented less to texts of nostalgic remembrance than to a discourse grounded on theoretical and literary reflection, showing a very specific cultural significance for the Soviet-Russian present.

The author seeks to place Shtetl Discourse in a historical frame, and links this with an interpretation, through the prism of literary studies, of a number of key texts from this period. These include in particular Anatoly Rybakov's novel »Heavy Sand« (1981; »Tyazhely Pesok«, 1979), the stories »Gypsy Camp« and »Annual Fair« by Boris Yampolsky, and the novels of Grigory Kanovich and Oleg Yurev. The Shtetl Discourse investigated in these texts was opposed to dogmatic communist conceptions of equality, was critical of aspects of Russian culture, and reflected in literary form the Jewish identity of the authors.

307 pp. with 5 illustrations, Hardcover with dust jacket

Göttingen: Vandenhock & Ruprecht, 2008 

ISBN: 978-3-525-36987-6
Price: 52,00 € (D)


Anke Hilbrenner, in: H-Soz-Kult, 15 December 2009. [collective review]

Gertrud Pickhan, in: East European Jewish Affairs 39 (2009), no. 1, 136–138.

Carmen Scheide, in: transversal. Zeitschrift des Centrums für Jüdische Studien 9 (2008), no. 2, 118–120.