Archive of violence: Neighbors, strangers, and creatures in Itsik Kipnis’s months and days

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Itsik Kipnis’s 1926 Yiddish novel, Months and Days: A Chronicle (Khadoshim un teg: A khronik) offers one of the most important accounts of the pogroms of 1919 by focusing on the events that took place in the shtetl of Slovechno (at the time, Volhynia province).This paper argues that Kipnis’s apparently naïve testimony offers important insights into the documentation and experience of violence, and in addition, opens a window in the conceptualization of violence. The key term is the Hebrew and Yiddish word hefker, which Kipnis uses to describe how he feels on the first night of the Slovechno pogrom. The word means “ownerless property” and “abandoned object.” I suggest that this term has broader ramifications for the particular forms of violence characteristic of this period, and the strange transformations to which both perpetrators and victims were subject. Moreover, the term hefker shares important parallels with current theorizations of violence, especially as formulated by Agamben and further developed by Eric Santner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-73
Number of pages25
JournalQuest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History
Volume2019
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Stranger
Creatures
Neighbors
Pogrom
Yiddish
Chronicles
Conceptualization
Giorgio Agamben
Night
Nave
Documentation
Testimony
Perpetrators

Keywords

  • Abandonment
  • Literature
  • Neighbors
  • Pogrom
  • Violence
  • Yiddish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History

Cite this

Archive of violence : Neighbors, strangers, and creatures in Itsik Kipnis’s months and days. / Murav, Harriet.

In: Quest. Issues in Contemporary Jewish History, Vol. 2019, No. 15, 01.01.2019, p. 49-73.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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