Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

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The field of early Yiddish studies has so far only been accessible to specialist scholars. This remarkable study opens up to a more general audience the cultural richness of that broad and deep corpus of literature that stretches from its beginnings in the Middle Ages to the mid-eighteenth century. The literature spans a wide spectrum of genres, from love lyric to kabbalistic treatises, and from travelogue to Renaissance adventure epic. The diverse world of Ashkenazic Jewry comes alive in this survey of its literature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Jerold Frakes's translation and revision of Jean Baumgarten's history of Old Yiddish literature is a welcome addition to the limited library of books in English on early Yiddish language and literature; Baumgarten's book is the best available history of and introduction to Yiddish literature of the medieval and early modern periods. It is a work that anyone with an interest in the development of vernacular literature or in religion and literature in the medieval and early modern periods should know."--David Elton Gay, Sixteenth Century Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199276332
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/11/2005
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Baumgarten is Directeur de Recherche (CNRS), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre des Hautes Etudes Juives, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Jerold C. Frakes is Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Southern California.

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Table of Contents

1. The Invention of a Language: Yiddish among the European Vernaculars
2. The Emergence of Yiddish Literature and the Crisis in Jewish Society
3. The Printing, Distribution, and Audience of Yiddish Books
4. Bilingualism and the Development of Old Yiddish LIterature
5. Yiddish Bibles
6. Medieval Epic and Romance in Yiddish
7. Elia Bahur Levita and the 'romanzo cavalleresco'
8. Books of Morality and Custom
9. Prayer in the Vernacular
10. Yiddish Narrative
11. Terrestrial Suffering in a Topsy-Turvy World
Conclusion: From the Old to the New

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