This book considers Yiddish theatre from a number of aspects: its historical development, its popular and critical reception, and the practice and consequences of state censorship. Its coverage ranges from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century and extends to locations as diverse as Cracow, London, Moscow, New York, St Petersburg, Vienna, and Warsaw. Yiddish Theatre not only presents a wide-ranging study of the field but also helps illustrate the significance of Yiddish theatre as a vital form of expression in the Jewish world: it has not only provided entertainment for audiences on six continents, but has also highlighted the social, political, religious, and economic concerns that Jews considered of vital interest. Yiddish Theatre is a valuable resource for scholars, university students, and general readers interested both in Yiddish theatre specifically and related fields such as Jewish literature and culture, east European history and culture, and European and American theatre. The book contains an extensive bibliography of sources relating to all aspects of Yiddish theatre.
Contributors: Ahuva Belkin, Joel Berkowitz, Paola Bertolone, Miroslawa M. Bulat, Brigitte Dalinger, Barbara Henry, John Klier, David Mazower, Leonard Prager, Nahma Sandrow, Nina Warnke, Seth L. Wolitz
'A comprehensive study of the field ... a wonderful read ... A valuable resource for any person interested in the history of the Yiddish theatre, or anyone interested in Jewish literature and culture, or anyone interested in the history of theatre in general in eastern Europe and America.'
- Sara Marcus, AJL Newsletter
'There is nothing comparable in English ... it is a pioneering volume that necessarily lays a foundation and implies an agenda for Yiddish theatre scholarship in the English-speaking world. Because it is the first and as yet only such publication in English, it will repay careful scrutiny in its parts and as a whole.'
- Michael C. Steinlauf, All about Jewish Theatre
'Carefully and lovingly edited ... represents a genuinely heroic effort at elevating a genre ... The scholarship is impeccable, and the contributors all serious scholars.'
- S. Gittleman, Choice
'The volume contains eleven excellent articles and has been produced by a publisher of repute: the Littman Library ... All in all, Yiddish Theatre: New Approaches is a landmark in the field of Yiddish cultural history. It is a thought-provoking book, which will hopefully inspire new collective volumes and monographs.'
- Gennady Estraikh, East European Jewish Affairs
'A pioneering volume that necessarily lays a foundation and implies an agenda, for Yiddish theatre scholarship in the English-speaking world. Because it is the first and as yet the only such publication in English, it will repay careful scrutiny, both in its parts and as a whole.'
- Michael Steinlauf, Modern Jewish Studies
'A stimulating and encouraging book that I am happy to recommend to the specialist and the curious reader alike ... It is not only a politically opportune moment to investigate the history of Yiddish theatre ... but also a time to create a comprehensive study of Jewish theatre, comparable to what has been done in publications on the history and traditions of Jewish film. It is a pleasure to acknowledge that Yiddish Theatre: New Approaches constitutes a very effective step in this direction.'
- Yana Meerzon, Modern Language Review
'Aside of the high level of papers there are many extra advantages of the book: selection of interesting plates and tables, many interesting texts (written in transcription for the sake of those not knowing Hebrew ...), and above all detailed bibliography (34 pages) and thorough index.'
- Przemyslaw Piekarski, Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia
'One the book's best attributes is the ability of its contributors to place their subjects within larger European contexts ... the calibre of the contributions is high, demonstrating the degree to which Yiddish theatre is attracting the attention of serious scholars ... [the book] succeeds not only in its goal of presenting some of the most important new scholarship on Yiddish theatre, but more importantly in helping to bring the study of this integral component of Jewish culture into wider academic circles and into a more complex scholarly discourse.'
- Jeffrey Veidlinger, Shofar
Joel Berkowitz is Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at the State University of New York at Albany. He previously taught Yiddish literature at the University of Oxford and English language and literature at the City University of New York. He is the author of Shakespeare on the American Yiddish Stage, as well as a number of scholarly articles on Yiddish theatre and drama.