Landmark Yiddish Plays: A Critical Anthology (S U N Y Series by Jeremy Asher Dauber, Joel Berkowitz

By Jeremy Asher Dauber, Joel Berkowitz

Introduces readers to comedian and tragic masterpieces spanning a hundred and fifty years of Yiddish drama.

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Landmark Yiddish Plays: A Critical Anthology (S U N Y Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture)

Introduces readers to comedian and tragic masterpieces spanning one hundred fifty years of Yiddish drama.

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Introduction 39 underwear a talis-kotn, and a long string of lead amulets, parchments, and wolf’s teeth hangs around his neck, and a silver hoop in one ear. His foolish face is framed by large black eyebrows, with redness around his nose and various scratches scattered about his face and neck. ’ ”107 Offsetting these unattractive characteristics, in the eyes of the traditional community, is Shmendrik’s family’s money, which can essentially buy him a bride from a family with yikhes (lineage). The familiar plot that grows out of this—a beautiful, intelligent young woman who is forced to accept a match well beneath her because her family has fallen on hard times, but is then rescued by her beloved, who hatches a scheme to marry her himself—diverts us while sending a clear message.

He did not need any excuses. He did not feel guilty, just as the bird who sings or the tree that blooms does not feel guilty. And [this was] truly astonishing . . right in the middle of the flourishing of the Haskala, when Yiddish, or, as it was called, ‘jargon,’ was, in the best case, a means to civilize the Jewish masses or, as I. M. ”79 This comfort with Yiddish, this lack of self-defensiveness, may help to explain the unbridled freedom and linguistic virtuosity that characterize Ettinger’s Yiddish poetry.

Der pinkes, 1913. 103. Oyslender and Finkel, A. Goldfaden, 18. 104. Isaac Goldberg, The Drama of Transition: Native and Exotic Playcraft (Cincinnati: Stewart Kidd, 1922), 345. ”105 Gottlober would become one of Goldfaden’s teachers, and in his memoirs, he remembered his student as “a very young boy . . who studied privately with me at home in addition to the school. ”106 Though Gottlober does not specify which Yiddish writings Goldfaden saw him working on, his student clearly became familiar at some point with Gottlober’s scathing anti-Hasidic farce, Der dektukh, oder tsvey khupes in eyn nakht (The Bridal Veil, or Two Weddings in One Night, 1838), which would serve as a direct influence for Goldfaden’s own satires.

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