Discovering Exile analyzes American Yiddish culture and its development during the European Holocaust and shows how our understanding of American Jewish culture has been utterly distorted by the omission of this context. It explores responses to some of the most intense cultural controversies of the period, examining texts in various genres written by the most important Yiddish writers and critics and placing them at the center of discussions of literary modernism and cultural modernity. Anglo-Jewish writers of the period provide a counterpoint to and commentary on this Yiddish story.
Norich seeks to demythologize Yiddish as mame-loshn (mother tongue)―as merely the language of the home and the past―by returning to a time of great, if ironic, vibrancy, when Yiddish writers confronted the very nature of their existence in unprecedented ways. Under increasing pressure of news from the war front and silence from home, these writers re-imagined modernism, the Enlightenment, political engagement, literary conventions, and symbolic language.
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