Edited By Andrzej Katny, Izabela Olszewska and Aleksandra Twardowska
Agnieszka August-Zarębska: The Representations of kurtijo and Their Function in Contemporary Judeo-Spanish Poetry
The Representations of kurtijo and Their Function in Contemporary Judeo-Spanish Poetry Agnieszka August-Zarębska University of Wrocław Abstract – The paper discusses representations of kurtijo in contemporary Judeo-Spanish po- etry. The Ladino word kurtijo denotes both a yard and a typical Sephardic house with an inner courtyard, where many families used to live together. In the lands of the Turkish-Balkan Di- aspora, the majority of Jewish kurtijos were left desolate by the Holocaust and, later, by the emigration of their inhabitants to Israel and other countries. The abandonment entailed not only the disappearance of a certain physical reality, but also the end of some traditional forms of life and customs, which for ages made up the texture of people’s everyday experience. Representations of kurtijos that appear in contemporary Ladino poetry are connected with the commemoration of, or a nostalgia for, the communities destroyed in the Second World War. Furthermore, depictions of imagined kurtijos evoke the old reality or express the authors’ bonds with their roots and family past. They also convey their need to retrieve their roots or (re-)define their identities. Keywords: Sephardic Jews, Judeo-Spanish Contemporary Poetry, kurtijo, Home, Holocaust, Identity Introduction Poems reminiscing on the places inhabited by the Sephardi communities before the Second World War feature prominently in contemporary Judeo-Spanish po- etry. Decimated by the Holocaust and subsequently depopulated by the emigra- tion of survivors to the newly founded state of Israel as well as to other places, they have never come back to life again. They...
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