Music from a Speeding Train explores the uniquely Jewish space created by Jewish authors working within the limitations of the Soviet cultural system. It situates Russian- and Yiddish- language authors in the same literary universe—one in which modernism, revolution, socialist realism, violence, and catastrophe join traditional Jewish texts to provide the framework for literary creativity. These writers represented, attacked, reformed, and mourned Jewish life in the pre-revolutionary shtetl as they created new forms of Jewish culture.
Harriet Murav is Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to studies of Dostoevsky, and Russian law and literature, her most recent book is Music from a Speeding Train: Jewish Literature in Post-Revolution Russia (Stanford University Press, 2011).