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Jewish Religion on Trial: Understanding Isaac Babel’s Short Story "Karl-Yankel"
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Russian.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The subject of this thesis is the short story "Карл-Янкель" ("Karl-Yankel") by Russian-Jewish writer Isaac Babel (1894‒1940), published in 1931. The story depicts a trial following the cir-cumcision of a boy against his parents’ will, and thus directly addresses issues of high relevance at the time, namely the transformations of religious life in the early years of the Soviet Union. Firstly, I have analyzed the references to Jewish culture that appear in the story. Further on, drawing on research by other scholars, I have examined the shift of the traditional Jew into a Soviet Jew—a highly secular subject deeply involved in the socialist society and far removed from the traditions of the Pale of Settlement. Lastly, I have studied the narrator’s perspective, which, being far from objective, plays a major role in portraying the trial and is of key im-portance for understanding the transformation of Jewish life that occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. At the end of the story, the narrator deprives the reader of the verdict and gives in-stead his attention to the circumcised boy. I argue that he thus focused on the future rather than on the conflict between tradition and secularism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Isaac Babel, Karl-Yankel, Judaism, identity, Russian-Jewish literature.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-29358OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-29358DiVA, id: diva2:1285294
Available from: 2019-02-04 Created: 2019-02-04

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CiteExportLink to record
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