I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture

Ruth R. Wisse

  • Published: 1991. Paperback 2015
  • Subject Listing: Jewish Studies; Literary Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 146 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies
  • Contents

I. L. Peretz (1852-1915), the father of modern Yiddish literature, was a master storyteller and social critic who advocated a radical shift from religious observance to secular Jewish culture. Wisse explores Peretz's writings in relation to his ideology, which sought to create a strong Jewish identity separate from the trappings of religion.
Ruth R. Wisse is research professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard University. She is the author of The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Language and Culture and editor of The I. L. Peretz Reader.
1. Reason and Faith
2. Nation and Class
3. Hope and Fear

"Anyone interested in Jewish literature, history, or politics will find Wisse's scholarly study of Peretz's life and ideas and her analysis of his stories fascinating reading."

"Wisse adeptly combines literary commentary with biographical and cultural materials. . . . She has made a valuable contribution by reinterpreting Peretz's literary output in its cultural, political, and historical framework."

"In her well-written and insightful volume, Ruth Wisse has prepared a masterful examination of Peretz's thought and achievement. By integrating the story of his life with an extensive analysis of the major themes of his work, Wisse demonstrates Peretz's influence on the formation of Yiddish literature."
-Studies in Religion

"I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture is not only about Peretz's creations, but a key to the understanding and love of Yiddish life in its totality."
-The Australian Jewish News