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.

The book emphasizes the Soviet Jewish response to World War II and the Nazi destruction of the Jews, disputing the claim that Jews in Soviet Russia did not and could not react to the killings of Jews. It reveals a largely unknown body of Jewish literature beginning as early as 1942 that responds to the mass killings. By exploring works through the early twenty-first century, the book reveals a complex, emotionally rich, and intensely vibrant Soviet Jewish culture that persisted beyond Stalinist oppression.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherStanford University Press
Number of pages416
ISBN (Electronic)9780804779043
ISBN (Print)9780804774437
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameStanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture


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