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Diary of a Lonely Girl

Saturday, January 11, 2020 14 Tevet 5780

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Jessica Kirzane, translator: Diary of a Lonely Girl, or the Battle Against Free Love by Miriam Karpilove

Saturday, Jan. 11, 5:30-7:00 pm

First published serially in the Yiddish daily newspaper di Varhayt in 1916–18, Diary of a Lonely Girl, or The Battle against Free Love is a novel of intimate feelings and scandalous behaviors, shot through with a dark humor. From the perch of a diarist writing in first person about her own love life, Miriam Karpilove’s novel offers a snarky, melodramatic criticism of radical leftist immigrant youth culture in early twentieth-century New York City. Squeezed between men who use their freethinking ideals to pressure her to be sexually available and nosy landladies who require her to maintain her respectability, the narrator expresses frustration at her vulnerable circumstances with wry irreverence. The novel boldly explores issues of consent, body autonomy, women’s empowerment and disempowerment around sexuality, courtship, and politics.

Jessica Kirzane is the Lecturer in Yiddish at the University of Chicago, where she coordinates the Yiddish language program. She is the Editor-in-Chief for In Geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies and is a passionate translator of Yiddish fiction.

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