The Emergence of Early Yiddish Literature

The Emergence of Early Yiddish Literature

Cultural Translation in Ashkenaz
Frakes, Jerold C.
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/26/2017
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-02551-7
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While much early Yiddish literature belonged to pious genres, quasi-secular genres—epic, drama, and lyric—also developed. Jerold Frakes contends that the historical context of the emergence of Yiddish literature is an essential factor in any understanding of its cultural relevance in a time and place where Jewish life was defined by expulsions, massacres, and discriminatory legislation that profoundly altered European Judaism and shook the very foundations of traditional Jewish society.

Author Bio

Jerold C. Frakes is SUNY Distinguished Professor of English at the University at Buffalo.


Jerold Frakes raises particularly poignant questions on how the work of Christians influenced Jewish society.Jerold Frakes offers an excellent presentation of the Jewish vernacular as a multi-faceted, multivalent cultural phenomenon that shows the slow religious evolution and socio-cultural turn from the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. "Whither am I to Go?": Old Yiddish Love Song in a European Context
3. (Non-)Intersecting Parallel Lives: Pasquino in Rome and on the Rialto
4. Purimplay as Political Action in Diasporic Europe and/as Ancient Persia
5. Queen Vashti and Political Revolution: Gender Politics in a Topsy-Turvy World
6. The Political Liminality of Mordecai in Early Ashkenaz
7. Feudal Bridal-Quest Turned on its Jewish Head
8. The Other of Another Other: Yiddish Epic’s Discarded Muslim Enemy
9. Conclusion
Appendix: Elia Levita’s Short Poems (English translation)

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