“A Double Burden, a Double Cross”: Andrei Sobol as a Russian-Jewish Writer

“A Double Burden, a Double Cross”: Andrei Sobol as a Russian-Jewish Writer


Vladimir Khazan

Series: Jews of Russia & Eastern Europe and Their Legacy
ISBN: 9781618117113 (hardcover)
Pages: 180 pp.; 16 illus.
Publication Date: November 2017

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If a history of Russian-Jewish literature in the twentieth century (or, at least, a history of its authors and texts) were ever to be written, it would reveal a number of puzzling lacunae. One such lacuna is Andrei Sobol, a truly significant writer who, paradoxically, has not received due scholarly attention. This can easily be demonstrated by the fact that Sobol’s name goes virtually unmentioned in some of the most representative and authoritative studies dealing with the Russian-Jewish literary discourse. It is this scholarly gap that has prompted Vladimir Khazan to write this volume, a comprehensive and exhaustive account of Sobol’s public, literary, and artistic activities as a purely Russian-Jewish phenomenon. Khazan analyzes his biographical subject within the framework of cultural studies.

Vladimir Khazan teaches in the Department of Russian, German and Eastern European Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Vladimir Khazan’s in-depth study of the life and work of Andrei Sobol sheds new light on the complexity of Russian-Jewish cultural relationship. The book will be invaluable to both the scholarly community and the interested non-specialist, as it does an outstanding job in lifting the veil on one of the most mysterious figures in the history of the Russian literature during the turbulent revolutionary era.
— Lazar Fleishman, Stanford University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations

Part I. “…And, Apparently, a Very Good Jew”: Sobol as a Russian-Jewish Literary Critic and Journalist
I.1  Baal-Machshoves and Andrei Sobol: Two Views on the Purpose and Objectives of Russian-Jewish Literature
I.2 The Context and Subtext of Sobol’s Open Letter to D. Merezhkovsky
I.3 A Battle that Never Happened (Sobol’s Unpublished Open Letter to Ivan. Bunin)  

PART II.  Andrei Sobol and Evreiskii Mir

PART III. Overcoming the Myth: Jewish Themes, Motifs, and Images in Sobol’s Works
III.1. Between Literature and Politics: Sobol’s Novel Pyl’
III. 2. Jewish Themes, Motifs, and Images in Sobol’s Short Stories
III. 3. The Fate of Sobol’s Book Evrei

PART IV. Sobol’s Translation of Wandering Stars

PART V. Andrei Sobol and the Jewish Theater