How Women Functioned in the Male World of Yiddish Literature
We invite you to an online lecture by dr hab. Joanna Lisek, laureate of the 2020 Jan Karski and Pola Nireńska Award. The lecture organized by the YIVO Institute and the Jewish Historical Institute will be held on Monday, March 8 at 13:00 EST (19:00 CET), in English.

Live on Zoom | Jan Karski & Pola Nireńska Award Lecture

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For centuries, writing has been one of the few avenues available for women to make their voices heard in the public sphere. Joanna Lisek will present an overview of the strategies women used to break their way into the sphere of the printed Yiddish word: from annotations in the margins of books, to poems smuggled into the press in the guise of letters from readers, to the question of how relations with men were needed as leverage for getting published. Women writers and poets were not treated as equal partners in the male empire of Yiddish press and literature. Wedged into their froyen-vinkl, their “women’s corner,” women could expect condescension rather than actual recognition for their work. It is no coincidence that the seat of the Union of Jewish Writers and Journalists in Warsaw was described as a secular besmedresh, that is, a traditionally typical male institution. Finding a voice in the besmedresh of secular Yiddish literature was no easy task, and even more difficult was ensuring that this voice had a meaningful and important part in the discussion. Join us for this lecture to hear how they succeeded, oftentimes resorting to camouflage, at times openly manifesting their creative independence, all the while contending with unfavorable criticism.


Co-sponsored by Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw

Day: 08.03.2021
Hour: 13:00
Place: online