This original and extensively researched book is the first to offer a sustained analysis of Yiddish writers, readers, and texts in the early modern period. Focusing closely on Yiddish literary masterworks in diverse genres, Jeremy Dauber examines the way works of popular culture were received by readers, particularly when those writings addressed supernatural themes and beings---demons, dybbuks, magic journeys, talking animals, and others.
Who were the readers of popular Yiddish literature, and how did they make sense of such rich and dense texts? Did they believe them, and if so, how? Dauber offers a nuanced analysis of the contemporary understanding of differing genres of older Yiddish literature, and of the role those genres played in reflecting and shaping the culture of early modern Judaism. Encompassing a wide variety of early modern Yiddish literary genres---the fable collection, the folk tale, the chapbook featuring "historical" accounts of supernatural activity, the adapted chivalric epic, and more---Dauber's study not only has major implications for Yiddish studies but also offers insights into the larger early modern literary world.
"Beautifully argued . . . extremely sophisticated and convincing . . . In the Demon's Bedroom will offer literary studies a new and important means of discussing early modern texts."-Leah Garrett, Monash University
-- Leah Garrett
"Utterly original . . . Dauber's rehabilitation of Old Yiddish Literature, his attempt to rescue it from the German and Italian ghettos, is something markedly new. If you love to be shepherded through exotic realms, if you are excited by big ideas, this is the book for you."-David Roskies, Jewish Theological Seminary
-- David Roskies