By Ruth von Bernuth
The accumulated stories of those fools, or “wise men,” of Chelm represent the best-known folktale culture of the Jews of jap Europe. this practice incorporates a sprawling repertoire of reports concerning the alleged highbrow obstacles of the contributors of this outdated and critical Jewish group. Chelm didn't make its debut within the position of the silly shtetl par excellence until eventually past due within the 19th century. because then, even though, the city has led a double life—as a true urban in japanese Poland and as an imaginary position onto which questions of Jewish id, neighborhood, and heritage were projected.
By putting literary Chelm and its “foolish” antecedents in a broader old context, it indicates how they've got functioned for over 300 years as versions of society, someplace among utopia and dystopia. those imaginary silly cities have enabled writers either to entertain and spotlight various societal difficulties, a functionality that literary Chelm maintains to satisfy in Jewish literature to this day.
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Extra info for How the Wise Men Got to Chelm: The Life and Times of a Yiddish Folk Tradition
How the Wise Men Got to Chelm: The Life and Times of a Yiddish Folk Tradition by Ruth von Bernuth