Marc Caplan interprets the works of David Bergelson, Der Nister and Moshe Kulbak as allegorical critiques of the Modern Age.
Moyshe Kulbak made a conscious decision to live in the Soviet Union. A translation of his masterful Yiddish novel ‘The Zelmenyaners’ should bring his work to a new audience.
A version of this post appeared in Yiddish.
Between 1929 and 1935, Yiddish writer Moyshe Kulbak (1896-1937) published a comic novel called “The Zelmenyaners” serially in the Minsk-based Yiddish language monthly Shtern.The novel told the story of a family courtyard in Minsk, in Soviet Belorussia, which was being progressively transformed through aggressive Soviet modernization.
In the 1920s, Yiddish was more than just a lingua franca for East European Jewish émigrés; it was also a language of high culture, as demonstrated by a brilliant new book, “Yiddish in Weimar Berlin: At the Crossroads of Diaspora Politics and Culture” (Legenda Books), edited by New York University Yiddish scholar Gennady Estraikh and University of Michigan professor Mikhail Krutikov.