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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature$
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Jean Baumgarten and Jerold C. Frakes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 October 2021

Medieval Epic and Romance in Yiddish

Medieval Epic and Romance in Yiddish

(p.128) 6 Medieval Epic and Romance in Yiddish
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the medieval epic and romance in Yiddish. The larger corpus of epic texts assumes a great significance in the history of Old Yiddish literature. These Yiddish epics go beyond the simple didactic purposes of a number of the texts published up to that point, especially the translations of the Bible, for they are themselves authentic and original literary compositions. The authors of these stories, some of which are of great artistic value, demonstrate a great mastery of the form of German epic, as well as a scrupulous respect for the Hebrew sources. These epic poems, especially the Shmuel-bukh and Melokhim-bukh, mark the actual moment of birth, as it were, of a vernacular Jewish literature that had attained the level of other medieval European literatures.

Keywords:   epic poetry, romance, German epic, Hebrew sources, epic poems, Shmuel-bukh

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