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Ale Brider: Yiddish Culture in Montreal and New York City

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image of European Journal of Jewish Studies

As a minor centre in transnational pre-Holocaust Yiddish culture, Montreal aligned itself with major centres, in particular the nearby metropolis of New York City. This study examines the relationship between Yiddish Montreal and Yiddish New York City from the very beginnings of eastern European Jewish immigration in the 1880s through the Second World War, with a particular focus on publishing and literary life. It compares the two cities and presents theatre as an area of Montreal’s ongoing dependence on New York City. It discusses the interconnected spheres of publishing and literary life as presenting a more complex and evolving relationship between the minor and major city. Here Montreal’s literary culture evolved from a dependent of New York City towards a position of maturity and active exchange. Montreal’s emergence as a primary centre of Yiddish culture after the Holocaust forms part of a process of maturation vis-à-vis the wider Yiddish world, notably New York City. The study also posits that during this ongoing evolution of the Montreal-New York City relationship, the bonds between the cities remained much stronger than the ties between Yiddish and non-Yiddish Canadian culture.

Affiliations: 1: University of Ottawa


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