Home­less Tongues: Poet­ry and Lan­guages of the Sephardic Diaspora

Monique Rodrigues Balbuena
  • From the Publisher
January 5, 2017

This book exam­ines a group of mul­ti­cul­tur­al Jew­ish poets to address the issue of mul­ti­lin­gual­ism with­in a con­text of minor lan­guages and lit­er­a­tures, nation­al­ism, and dias­po­ra. It intro­duces three writ­ers work­ing in minor or threat­ened lan­guages who chal­lenge the usu­al con­sen­sus of Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture: Alger­ian Sadia Lévy, Israeli Mar­galit Mati­ti­ahu, and Argen­tine Juan Gel­man. Each of them — Lévy in French and Hebrew, Mati­ti­ahu in Hebrew and Ladi­no, and Gel­man in Span­ish and Ladi­no — express­es a hybrid or com­pos­ite Sephardic iden­ti­ty through a strate­gic choice of com­pet­ing lan­guages and inter­texts. Monique R. Bal­bue­na’s close lit­er­ary read­ings of their works, which are most­ly unknown in the Unit­ed States, are strong­ly ground­ed in their social and his­tor­i­cal con­text. Her focus on con­tem­po­rary rather than clas­sic Ladi­no poet­ry and her argu­ment for the inclu­sion of Sephardic pro­duc­tion in the canon of Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture make Home­less Tongues a time­ly and unusu­al intervention.

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