The Story's the Thing: Afterword

Roskies, David G.

The Beleaguered South Bronx is not the only ground where the ancient and medieval traditions of Jewish storytelling flourished. As the articles in this issue point to some of the stopping places along the way—thirteenth-century Ashkenaz and sixteenth-century Safed—so in the modern period the map became global in scope. The eastern European heartland gave rise to a modern school of folktale writing in both Hebrew and Yiddish and when the Jews of this community dispersed—to Western Europe, America and Palestine—so too did their storytellers. Agnon, foremost among them, bridged the languages and the lands of the Jewish dispersion. In North Africa, meanwhile, the first French-speaking writers recaptured the indigenous storytelling traditions in Judeo-Arabic even as they adapted the fictional forms of modern Europe. When American Jewish writing came into its own after World War II, storytellers such as Malamud and Ozick assumed a prominent place alongside the novelists.


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Jewish Theological Seminary
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November 13, 2012