Highlight of the Yiddish Renaissance, S. 256


During the fifteenth century, many Jews left Germany to settle in Northern Italy in prospects of making a better living thus adopting the Italian language and blending their culture with Italian culture. During this time, Italo-Yiddish literature began to emerge, often taking stories that were popular in the past and creating a new version to better suit the readers of the present time. One such story was “Pariz un Vyene (Paris and Vienna)”. The author of this story is unknown, however it is attributed to Elijah Levita. The theme of the story was a subject that the author believed would connect well with the Jewish audience: the choice of a marriage partner. In Jewish tradition parents choose a husband for their daughter, however, the daughter cannot be forced to marry someone they do not want. The author took the opportunity to use the story to criticize the practice of parents choosing their daughter’s spouse. “Pariz un Vyene” is about the daughter of a king who falls in love with the son of a count and the obstacles they encounter when the king refuses to allow Vienna to marry Paris who is lower in social class. This story is considered to be one of the most important works of Old Yiddish literature because of the author’s ability to take a popular European story and adapt it to the Jewish culture. Rather than compose the story in prose the author decided it would be better composed as a long rhymed epic, incorporating the Italian “ottaverime” stanza form–or the rhyme scheme abababcc. The Yiddish version of this story is the only one that utilizes the plot and character descriptions to show the comical side of human characteristics for an overall light-hearted story. Adapting well-known stories to a modern culture can be seen in American books and film today, such as Disney adaptations of fairy tales. I think that it is inevitable that cultures will continue to adapt well-known stories to suit their lifestyle of the time–sometimes improving the story, and sometimes degrading the story.

Ich könnte nicht den Text von “Paris und Vienna” auf dem Internet finden, aber ich habe über das “Bovebukh” gelesen. Es war ein anderes sehr populares jiddisches Buch, das war mit “Paris und Vienna” ähnlich. Es ist über die Tochter eines Königs, die in ein Stalljunge verliebt und der König lehnt die Verbindung zu geschehen ab. Ich denke, daß dieses Thema durch die Zeiten getragen worden ist und es heute popular ist. Viele Bücher und Filme werden noch um dieses Thema geschrieben. Die Details und die kulturellen Hinweise sind die einzigen Themen, die ändern.



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