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The Poetics of Anarchy

David Edelshtat's Revolutionary Poetry


Ori Kritz

David Edelshtat (1866-1892), a pioneer of Yiddish social poetry and one of the most prominent figures among communist anarchists, was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States (1882). He became a central poet during his lifetime and a legend among revolutionaries and Yiddish poets of subsequent generations, despite his short literary career which spanned a mere three and a half years (1889-1892). He was involved in the emergence of American Yiddish literature and journalism, and American Radicalism. This book treats his biography and explores major thematical, political and social aspects of his poetry, its revolutionary function, the poet's role as a political agitator and the press's role as a vehicle for the introduction of his poetry. The book also examines the diction and prosody of the poems and contributes to the theory of political poetry and the rhetoric of revolution.
Contents: The life, work and reception of a political poet, David Edelshtat (1866-1892) - Ideology, mythology and action - Poetry as propaganda - The poem as a newspaper genre - The civil religion of a communist - The components of Edelshtat's political mythology - The poet as a political agitator - Diction and prosody - The rhetoric of revolution.