By Jarrod Tanny
Previous Odessa, at the Black Sea, won notoriety as a mythical urban of Jewish gangsters and swindlers, a frontier boomtown mythologized for the adventurers, criminals, and merrymakers who flocked there to hunt effortless wealth and lead lives of debauchery and extra. Odessa can be famed for the emblem of Jewish humor introduced there within the nineteenth century from the shtetls of jap Europe and that flourished all through Soviet occasions. From a vast ancient point of view, Jarrod Tanny examines the hybrid Judeo-Russian tradition that emerged in Odessa within the nineteenth century and persevered throughout the Soviet period and past. The e-book indicates how the artwork of eminent Soviet-era figures reminiscent of Isaac Babel, Il'ia Ilf, Evgenii Petrov, and Leonid Utesov grew out of the Odessa Russian-Jewish tradition into which they have been born and which formed their lives.
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Extra info for City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa
No. 63 Moey Hanover comically illustrates how Judaism’s most sacred texts can be a means of empowerment rather than a route to diasporic captivity. By summoning tradition, the Jewish rogue transcends the expected boundaries of exile. The historical primacy of argument and debate in Jewish culture explains why Jewish tricksters and swindlers are depicted as masters in the art of linguistic manipulation. Shtetl folklore and humor are filled with characters who employ seemingly flawed logic to achieve their often ignoble objectives.
81 During his voyage, John Moore was reminded of the “adventurous mariners . . 83 For Edmund Spencer, destiny decided that one [storm] of the wildest fury should now threaten our bark with destruction. . ”84 The Black Sea may have only covered an area of 422,000 square kilometers—less than one-fifth the size of its neighbor, the Mediterranean—but crossing into New Russia was akin to entering a new and unknown universe. 85 But unlike the original Eldorado whose existence remained a mystery, travelers were ultimately able to reach Odessa, and their journey through the harsh frontier shaped their experiences and affected how they depicted the city itself.
For such visitors, Odessa’s splendor went hand-in-hand with its aura of European otherness, resembling Mediterranean Italy or Greece, rather than frigid Russia. Henry Wikoff describes his experience: I was almost tempted to believe that, by some hocus-pocus, we had tumbled on an Italian town, so balmy was the air, so bright the aspect of the place, with its lofty granite houses, broad streets, rich foliage, and splendid promenade on the borders of the smiling Black Sea, rivaling the Mediterranean in loveliness.
City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa by Jarrod Tanny