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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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Elia Levita and the Romanzo Cavalleresco

Elia Levita and the Romanzo Cavalleresco

(p.163) 7 Elia Levita and the Romanzo Cavalleresco
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Oxford University Press

Northern Italy was the centre of one of the most creative periods in early Yiddish literature, and it was there that two of the indisputable masterpieces of Old Yiddish courtly romance were published. These texts are associated with the character and work of Elia Levita, well known as a friend and teacher of Christian Hebraists and as a Hebrew grammarian and author of treatises on the Massoretic tradition. The Bovo-bukh and Pariz un viene are adaptations of Christian texts and display a rare degree of sophistication and stylistic achievement. These texts brought about a radical break with the existing traditions and led to innovations in the literary forms that exercised great influence on the developing tradition of vernacular Jewish literature. These courtly romances showed the potential for creating previously unknown literary forms.

Keywords:   Christian Hebraists, Italy, Elia Levita, Bovo-bukh, Pariz un viene, Yiddish literature

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