Synopses & Reviews
Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like nosh
, and schmutz
all the time, but how did these words come to pepper American English? In Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land
, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from medieval Europe to the tenements of New Yorkand#8217;s Lower East Side. This comics anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists such as Barry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. Through illustrations, comics art, and a full-length play, four major themes are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and the revival of the language. The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar, this book is a thoughtful compilation that reveals the far-reaching influences of Yiddish.
Praise for Yiddishkeit:
and#8220;The book is about what Neal Gabler in his introduction labels and#8216;Jewish sensibility.and#8217; It pervades this volume, which he acknowledges is messy; he writes: and#8216;You really can't define Yiddishkeit neatly in words or pictures. You sort of have to feel it by wading into it.and#8217; The book does this with gusto.and#8221; and#8212;New York Times
and#8220;Yiddishkeit is as colorful, bawdy, and charming as the culture it seeks to represent.and#8221;
and#8220;every bit of it brimming with the charm and flavor of its subject and seamlessly meshing with the text to create a genuinely compelling, scholarly comics experienceand#8221;
and#8220;Yiddishkeit is a book that truly informs about Jewish culture and, in the process, challenges readers to pick apart their own vocabulary.and#8221; and#8212;Chicago Tribune
and#8220;a postvernacular tour de forceand#8221;
and#8220;A fascinating and enlightening effort that takes full use of the graphic storytelling medium in an insightful and revelatory way.and#8221; and#8212;The Miami Herald
and#8220;With a loving eye Pekar and Buhle extract moments and personalities from Yiddish history.and#8221; and#8212;Hadassah
and#8220;gorgeous comix-style portraits of Yiddish writersand#8221;
and#8220;Yiddishkeit has managed to survive, if just barely, not because there are individuals dedicated to its survival, though there are, but because Yiddishkeit is an essential part of both the Jewish and the human experience.and#8221;and#160;
and#8212;Neal Gabler, author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, from his introduction
"The hearty hardcover is a scrumptious smorgasbord of comics, essays, and illustrations, edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, providing concentrated tastes, with historical context, of Yiddish theater, literature, characters and culture." and#8212;Heeb magazine
"The term 'Yiddishkeit' is open to several interpretations, including 'Yiddish culture' and 'Yiddish sensibility,' but the concept is too expansive to be fully conveyed with a mere word. The same can be said of this book itself, which is a fascinating and dense examination mostly in comics format of Yiddish as a language and culture and how it became inextricably woven into the tapestry of America when it arrived with Jewish immigrants. While it's impossible to fully explore the breadth and depth of Yiddish literature, performing arts, humor, and its key creators within the confines of a 240-page book, the contributors succeed in providing the very detailed basics in a visually engaging manner, with much of its written content being the final work of the late indie comics scribe Pekar, himself the scion of a Yiddish-speaking household. The art is provided by a number of notables, including Spain Rodriguez, Peter Kuper, and Sharon Rudahl, every bit of it brimming with the charm and flavor of its subject and seamlessly meshing with the text to create a genuinely compelling, scholarly comics experience. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Paul Buhle, retired from Brown University, has written and edited 42 books, including the award-winning Art of Harvey Kurtzman, Jews and American Comics, and the three-volume Jews and American Popular Culture. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Harvey Pekar (1939and#8211;2010) is best known for his autobiographical comic book series American Splendor and Our Cancer Year, which was made into an Academy Awardand#8211;nominated film starring Paul Giamatti in 2003.