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Jews and the Ends of Theory$
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Shai Ginsburg, Martin Land, and Jonathan Boyarin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823282005

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823282005.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

The Off-Modern Turn: Modernist Humanism and Vernacular Cosmopolitanism in Shklovsky and Mandelshtam

The Off-Modern Turn: Modernist Humanism and Vernacular Cosmopolitanism in Shklovsky and Mandelshtam

Chapter:
(p.164) Chapter 7 The Off-Modern Turn: Modernist Humanism and Vernacular Cosmopolitanism in Shklovsky and Mandelshtam
Source:
Jews and the Ends of Theory
Author(s):

Svetlana Boym

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823282005.003.0008

This chapter examines the Russian literary critic Victor Shklovsky and poet Osip Mandelshtam to discuss the relationship between theory and Jews, exploring their autobiographical narratives to articulate what can be called the off-modern turn. That turn is a zigzag movement that defies the demands of systematic thinking and that does not follow any of the popular “isms” of Jewish intellectual engagement of the day: idealism, Marxism, nationalism, or messianism. Indeed, both Shklovsky and Mandelshtam look for artistic, political, and existential practices that defy theoretical conceptions along with their hierarchies and logics, for modes of art and thinking that undercut prescribed rules. Such practices bear the promise of freedom, of seeing the world anew, of a new beginning.

Keywords:   Victor Shklovsky, Osip Mandelshtam, theory, Jews, systematic thinking, Jewish intellectual, modernist humanism, vernacular cosmopolitanism

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