This is a contribution to the forum “Conceptualizing National Modern-ism” inspired by the publication of the new book by Galina Babak and Al-exander Dmitriev, The Atlantis of Soviet National Modernism: The Formal Method in Ukraine (1920s–Early 1930s) (Moscow: NLO, 2021). Harriet Murav continues the discussion of national modernism and the formal method by focusing on a Yiddish modernist author, David Bergelson. She argues that national modernism and the formal method are not necessarily contradictory, especially in the transnational frameworks in which Yiddish and other modernisms emerged. At the same time, the key formalist concept of defamiliarization (ostranenie) facilitated the emergence of an alternative, nonmajoritarian perspective. Jewish formalism allowed one to distance from Soviet content, and even mute it completely if one was not a wholehearted communist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
JournalAb Imperio
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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