The Representations of "kurtijo" and Their Function in Contemporary Judeo-Spanish Poetry
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The paper discusses representations of "kurtijo" in contemporary Judeo-Spanish poetry. The Ladino word "kurtijo" denotes both a yard and a typical Sephardic house with an inner courtyard, where many families used to live together. In the lands of the Turkish-Balkan Diaspora, the majority of Jewish "kurtijos" were left desolate by the Holocaust and, later, by the emigration of their inhabitants to Israel and other countries. The abandonment entailed not only the disappearance of a certain physical reality, but also the end of some traditional forms of life and customs, which for ages made up the texture of people's everyday experience. Representations of "kurtijos" that appear in contemporary Ladino poetry are connected with the commemoration of, or a nostalgia for, the communities destroyed in the Second World War. Furthermore, depictions of imagined "kurtijos" evoke the old reality or express the author's bonds with their roots and family past. They also convey their need to retrieve their roots or (re-)define their identities.
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