Book of Fables is a bilingual edition of Sefer Mesholim, an important collection of fables that was published in Yiddish in 1695. Occupying a significant and interesting place in Yiddish literary history, Sefer Mesholim provides valuable insight regarding the development of Yiddish language and literature and offers an unusual perspective on the cultural and social life of contemporary European Jewry. Now, almost three hundred years after its original publication, Eli Katz has translated the thirty-four fables of Sefer Mesholim, derived principally from the Aesopic canon, and from both medieval Hebrew and German sources. The fables themselves were first adapted for a Yiddish reading audience in 1597 in Verona, Italy, and in the adaptation acquired a distinctively Ashkenazic Jewish flavor with much local Italian-Jewish vocabulary and coloration. To place this particular book of traditional tales in context with its time and culture, Katz discusses the early development of Yiddish literature in European publishing. His extensive appendices and critical apparatus document his decisions as a translator and the peculiarities of the early edition, detailing the interesting ways in which Moses Wallich modified the original collection for his audience of a century later. This comprehensive volume presents 115 reproductions of the original pages with handsome, intricate woodcut illustrations opposite the translation of the text. By providing Yiddish text as it appeared hundreds of years ago, Katz facilitates access by scholars in the fields of Yiddish language, literature, and folklore, and areas of more general Jewish social history.
History, World, Jewish,