The Hebrew Folktale seeks to find and define the folk-elements of Jewish culture. Through the use of generic distinctions and definitions developed in folkloristics, Yassif describes the major trends-structural, thematic, functional-of folk narrative in the central periods of Jewish culture. Yassif employs this classification as the primary vehicle for understanding the social function and cultural meaning of the Hebrew folktale within Jewish culture. By analysing texts from various periods in their historical and cultural context, the author presents an overview of the Hebrew folktale, examines the transmission of the folktale from period to period, and looks at the interaction between texts from different times and contexts. The folktale in the history of Jewish culture is presented as a continuous and developing element, which "moves" with Jewish history, and is a central component in its interpretation and memory.
The study of the folktale in Jewish culture offers an opportunity for understanding general themes such as the place of folklore in the development of culture, and the complicated relationships between elite and folk culture, oral and written literature, historical reality, and narrative fiction. Eli Yassif is Professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish Folklore at Tel-Aviv University He is the author of many books including The Study of Jewish Folklore: An Annotated Bibliography, The Golem of Prague, and The Knight, the Demon and the Virgin: An anthology of Hebrew Stories from the Middle Ages.
The most comprehensive account of its subject now available, this impressive study lives up to the encyclopedic promise of its title. Yassif (Tel Aviv Univ.) examines the Hebrew folktale chronologically in the context of Jewish culture, and so affords thoughtful critical analyses of how the genre evolved and developed through the centuries in terms of the indigenous national literature. After an introduction describing the evolution of modern scholarship on the folktale, Yassif considers five historical periods: biblical, Second Temple, Rabbinic ,Middle Ages, and Changing World-the last delineating the Hasidic story, legends of saints in contemporary Israel, and tales of returning to the faith in a secular society. The discussion in each chapter is dense and lucid; Teitelbaum renders the original Hebrew in fluent, jargon-free English. Yassif brings an extraordinary amount of learning to his task, leaving this reviewer in no doubt that this volume will henceforth be the authoritative reference on the subject. It will also be an invaluable resource for students of narratology in general, since its exposition of folk narrative deals with such modes as the legend, the fable, the fairy tale, the comic tale, the saint's legend, among many other literary forms. Some 80 pages of notes add valuable information concerning source material. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.M. Butovsky, Concordia University, Choice, May 2000
Series: Folklore Studies in Translation
For Ages: 22+ years old
Number Of Pages: 584
Published: 16th April 2009
Publisher: INDIANA UNIV PR
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.26 x 16.56
Weight (kg): 0.97
Edition Type: Annotated