Cover: A Bridge of Longing in PAPERBACK

A Bridge of Longing

The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674081406

Publication Date: 09/01/1996


6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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An ambitious, learned…study of two centuries of Yiddish literature… Roskies has produced an often brilliant scholarly volume that will help rescue the ‘lost art of Yiddish storytelling’ by explaining what it really was.—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Fascinating and persuasive… In this insightful and erudite study [Roskies shows that] Yiddish writers…were literary craftsmen who rediscovered and then refashioned traditional stories and did it so successfully that today their re-creations seem like original folk tales…He makes a strong case.—Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

[Roskies’s] book can be seen as a history of secular Jewish culture in Europe, not a comprehensive history, but a metonymic one. He examines a very significant strand of that culture in detail, with the purpose of shedding light on the whole… A very lively and entertaining writer, Roskies is often elusive in expressing his ideas and summing up the messages he draws from the writers he discusses. This elusiveness is intentional, allowing him to remain true to the writers he presents… The picture of Jewish culture that emerges from his book is rich in paradox, a welter of lively voices, humor in the face of catastrophe and hope won from despair (as well as despair following hope), and amalgam of inner contradictions too multifaceted and incoherent to exist. Nevertheless, it continues to exist and to renew itself. A Bridge of Longing is entirely Jewish in its concern, yet it is far from a parochial book, for the process of creative betrayal that Roskies explores is one that takes place in every modern literary culture, from the rural England of Thomas Hardy and the rural American south of William Faulkner through the Trinidad of V.S. Naipal, Akira Kurosawa’s epic films about medieval Japan, and the Latin American settings of Gabriel García Márquez.—Jeff Green, The Jerusalem Post Literary Supplement

This is a good book… I read [it] with admiration and pleasure… [Roskies’s] analysis of Sholem Aleichem, Peretz, and Manger is masterly, his study of Singer, inspired. His book is about the most stimulating guide to the Yiddish classics available in the English language.—Chaim Bermant, The Jewish Chronicle

Awards & Accolades

  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 1995

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