I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture

I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture

by Ruth R. Wisse
     
 

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I. L. Peretz (1852–1915), the father of modern Yiddish literature, was a master storyteller and social critic who advocated a radical shift from religious observance to secular Jewish culture. Wisse explores Peretz’s writings in relation to his ideology, which sought to create a strong Jewish identity separate from the trappings of religion.

Overview

I. L. Peretz (1852–1915), the father of modern Yiddish literature, was a master storyteller and social critic who advocated a radical shift from religious observance to secular Jewish culture. Wisse explores Peretz’s writings in relation to his ideology, which sought to create a strong Jewish identity separate from the trappings of religion.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Peretz helped shape a national identity for Jews at the end of the 19th century through his writing of Yiddish literature. Wisse (Yiddish literature, McGill Univ.), also the author of The Schlemiel as Modern Hero ( LJ 7/88), focuses on the power of his influence by studying his ideas. She attempts to understand Peretz's role in the development of modern Jewish culture--what he wrote and why it mattered. ``From the mid-1880s until his death at the beginning of World War I, he shaped literature in Yiddish, and to a lesser extent Hebrew, into an expression and instrument of national cohesion that would help to compensate the Jews for the absence of such staples of nationhood as political independence and territorial sovereignty.'' Wisse summarizes and analyzes many of Peretz's stories, showing how the author strove for a kind of divinity in a new secular sphere for Jews. Of interest to students of modern Jewish history, literature, and politics, as well as the nonspecialist reader.-- Molly Abram owitz, Silver Spring, Md.
Booknews
Peretz (1851 or 1852-1915) was one of the major personalities in modern Jewish history and the formative influence on modern Yiddish literature, writing fiction, poetry, drama, and essays. Wisse focuses on the power of his influence by examining his ideas, in particular the way he responded to successive dangers to Jewish survival by conceiving of culture as the dynamic force that would guarantee the internal self-transformation of the Jews into a secular people while warding off the threats of anti-Semitism. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Booklist

Anyone interested in Jewish literature, history, or politics will find Wisse’s scholarly study of Peretz’s life and ideas and her analysis of his stories fascinating reading.

Forward

Wisse adeptly combines literary commentary with biographical and cultural materials.... She has made a valuable contribution by reinterpreting Peretz’s literary output in its cultural, political, and historical framework.

Studies in Religion

In her well-written and insightful volume, Ruth Wisse has prepared a masterful examination of Peretz’s thought and achievement. By integrating the story of his life with an extensive analysis of the major themes of his work, Wisse demonstrates Peretz’s influence on the formation of Yiddish literature.

The Australian Jewish News

I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture is not only about Peretz’s creations, but a key to the understanding and love of Yiddish life in its totality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295970899
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
09/01/1991
Series:
Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies Series
Pages:
146
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ruth R. Wisse is research professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard University. She is the author of The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Language and Culture and editor of The I. L. Peretz Reader.

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