Elijah's Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales

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9780060151089: Elijah's Violin and Other Jewish Fairy Tales

Tales of magic and wonder can be found in every phase of Jewish literature, from the sacred to the secular. The fairy tale in particular--set in enchanted lands and populated with a variety of human and supernatural beings, both good and evil--holds a very special place in the Jewish tradition. For in the fairy tale, where good and evil engage in a timeless struggle, we have a clear reflection of the Jewish world view, where faith in God can defeat the evil impulse. In Elijah's Violin, Howard Schwartz offers a sumptuous collection of thirty-six Jewish fairy tales from virtually every corner of the world. At once otherworldy and earthy, pious and playful, these celebrated tales from Morocco and India, Spain and Eastern Europe, Babylon and Egypt, illustrate not only their Jewish character but also their universality of themes. Invoking the biblical tale of David and Goliath, we read as King David defeats the giant by hovering above its spear in King David and the Giant. In the romantic tale of The Princess in the Tower, a variant of Rapunzel, we watch as the cautious King Solomon recognizes the vanity in trying to prevent Providence from taking place. And we see the religious nature of the quest for Elijah's violin in the title story. The successful completion of the king's quest enables the violin's imprisoned melodies, emblematic of the Jewish spirit, to be set free. Throughout this richly illustrated collection, one can find the quests and riddles of the traditional fairy tale along with the divine intervention that characterizes the Jewish fairy tale. Skillfully translated, these stories will captivate children and adults alike in which romance and magic become enchantingly entwined with faith, duty, and wisdom.

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Product Description:

With this collection, Howard Schwartz retells 36 Jewish fairy tales that are at once otherworldly and earthy, pious and playful. Drawn from sources as diverse as Morocco and India, Spain and Eastern Europe, Babylon and Egypt, the stories are characterized by their infusion of traditional Jewish characters with the archetypal forms found in all fairy tales, or by their treatment of Jewish religious themes. The book combines the playfulness of fairy tales with the author's depth of knowledge of the historical origins of the tales. Throughout one can find the quests and riddles of the traditional fairy tale along with the divine intervention that characterizes the Jewish fairy tale.

About the Author:


Howard Schartz is Professor of English Literature at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is the author of Lilian's Cave and Miriam's Tambourine.

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Published by Harpercollins (1983)
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