Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature

March 17, 2024 | 5:00PM
Bluestockings Bookstore, 116 Suffolk Street New York, NY 10002

Image removed.


Join Anna Elena Torres and Molly Crabapple as they discuss Torres' new book, "Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature."

Spanning the last two centuries, Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish combines archival research on the radical press and new translations of Yiddish poetry to offer an original literary study of the Jewish anarchist movement. The narrative unfolds through a cast of historical characters, from the well-known—such as Emma Goldman—to the more obscure, including an anarchist rabbi who translated the Talmud and a gynecologist who organized for women’s suffrage and against national borders. Torres examines Yiddish anarchist aesthetics from the nineteenth-century Russian proletarian immigrant poets through the modernist avant-gardes of Warsaw, Chicago, and London to contemporary antifascist composers. 

The book also traces Jewish anarchist strategies for negotiating surveillance, censorship, detention, and deportation, revealing the connection between Yiddish modernism and struggles for free speech, women’s bodily autonomy, and the transnational circulation of avant-garde literature.“In this groundbreaking and politically urgent work of archival recovery, AE Torres highlights the ways Yiddish literature offers strategies to negotiate the surveillance, detention, censorship, and deportation underlying an ‘anarchist diasporism.’”—Juno Jill Richards, author of The Fury Archives


Anna Elena Torres is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in the departments of Comparative Literature and Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity. Torres is the author of Horizons Blossom, Borders Vanish: Anarchism and Yiddish Literature (Yale University Press, 2024). With the labor historian Kenyon Zimmer, Torres edited With Freedom in Our Ears: Histories of Jewish Anarchism (University of Illinois Press), the first book-length study of transnational, multilingual Jewish anarchism.


Molly Crabapple is the co-author of Brothers of the Gun, an illustrated collaboration with Syrian war journalist Marwan Hisham, which was a NY Times Notable Book and long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award. Her memoir, Drawing Blood, received global praise and attention. Her animated films have been nominated for three Emmys and won an Edward R. Murrow Award. Crabapple’s reportage has been published in the New York Times, New York Review of BooksThe Paris ReviewVanity FairThe GuardianThe New Yorker and Rolling Stone. Currently, she is a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, working on a history of the Jewish Labor Bund.