Di Yunge By Zaritt, Saul Noam
Di yunge is a group of American Symbolist Yiddish writers and critics that achieved prominence during the first two decades of the twentieth century and remained active through the mid-century. The name of the group is Yiddish for ‘the young ones’, referencing not only the youth of its founding members but also the sense of newness and dramatic change that they intended to bring to Yiddish literature of the period. The group was made up largely of Eastern European immigrants to the United States who had experienced the failed Russian Revolution of 1905 and the pogroms that followed in its wake. These young writers arrived in America disillusioned with socialist and nationalist politics and instead sought out new forms of cultural expression that focused on artistic achievement in Yiddish rather than any political purpose. Taking European and Russian forms of Symbolism as models, Di yunge is the first movement in Yiddish literature to emphasize the importance of the aesthetic, focusing on the poetic potential of the everyday and on the inner life of the individual writer. Di yunge was comprised of several of the most important Yiddish writers of the twentieth century, including the poets Mani Leib, H. Leivick, Zishe Landau, I.J. Schwartz, Yoysef Rolnik, and Moyshe-Leyb Halpern and the prose writers David Ignatoff, Joseph Opatoshu, Isaac Raboy, and Lamed Shapiro. Members of Di yunge were among the first to infuse Yiddish literature with the forms and themes of international modernism.