A vast bounty of tales recounting mystical experiences among the rabbis can be found in the Talmud, the Zohar, Jewish folktales, and Hasidic lore. Now, in Gabriel's Palace, scholar Howard Schwartz has collected the greatest of these stories, sacred and secular, in a marvelously readable anthology.
Gabriel's Palace offers a treasury of 150 pithy and powerful tales, involving experiences of union with the divine, out-of-body travel, encounters with angels and demons, possession by spirits holy and pernicious, and more. Schwartz provides an informative introduction placing these remarkable tales firmly in the context of centuries of post-biblical Jewish tradition. The bodyof the text present spellbinding tales from the Talmud, Zohar, the Hasidic masters, and an enormous range of other sources. Here are stories of Shimon bar Yohai, reputed to be the author of the Zohar; Isaac Luria, known as the Ari, who was the central figure among the Safed mystics of the 16th century; Israel ben Eliezer, known as Baal Shem Tov, who founded Hasidism; Elimelech of Lizensk, possessor of legendary mystical powers; and Nachman of Bratslav, the great storyteller whose wandering spirit is said to protect his followers to this day. Together, these tales paint a vivid picture of "a world of signs and symbols, where everything that took place had meaning, a world of mythic proportions....A world in which the spirits of the dead were no longer invisible, nor the angels," where the master and his disciples labor to repair the world so that the footsteps of the Messiah might be heard.
Drawn from rabbinic, kabbalistic, folk, and Hasidic sources, these collected tales form a rich genre all their own. In Gabriel's Palace, the powerful tradition of Jewish mysticism comes to life in clear, contemporary English.
Translated from the original Sanskrit by the noted Victorian Orientalist, Sir Richard Burton, these ancient Indian folk tales influenced such later works as 1001 Arabian Nights and Boccaccio's Decameron. As revealing today as they were in their own time, these stories will entertain and delight modern readers while illuminating the life and customs of classical India. This reprint from the 1893 limited edition contains 34 black-and-white illustrations, including the frontispiece designed especially for that edition.
In 1489 Johan Hurus printed the first collection of fables in Spain, Lavida del Ysopetconsusfabulas hystoriadas. Illustrated with nearly 200 woodcuts, this work quickly became the most-read book in Spain, beloved of both children and adults. Reprinted many times in the next three centuries and carried to the New World, it brought to Spanish letters a cornucopia of Aesopic fables, oriental apologues, and folktales that were borrowed by such writers as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and especially the fabulists Iriarte and Samaniego. John Keller and Clark Keating now present the first English translation of this important literary work.
The Latin and German lineage of La vida was significant, for it placed Spain in the mainstream of European fable lore. The highly fictitious life of Aesop, the misshapen Greek slave who reached the highest social level, contributed to the development of medieval romance and the picaresque novel. The book is thus important to students of comparative literature, literary history, and the development of the Spanish language.
Of equal value are the woodcuts, which depict the daily life of medieval Europe and contribute to a better understanding of fifteenth-century art history, bookmaking, natural history, and the visualization of narrative. La vida del Ysopet thus constitutes one of the finest concordances of text and illustration in European literary history.
". . . its pages come alive with wonderful illustrative material coupled with sensitve and insightful commentary." --Reviews in Anthropology
" . . . the scope, breadth, and lucidity of this excellent study confirm that Okpewho is undoubtedly the most important authority writing on African oral literature right now . . . " --Research in African Literatures
"Truly a tour de force of individual scholarship . . . " --World Literature Today
" . . . excellent . . . " --African Affairs
" . . . a thorough synthesis of the main issues of oral literature criticism, as well as a grounding in experienced fieldwork, a wide-ranging theoretical base, and a clarity of argument rare among academics." --Multicultural Review
"This is a breathtakingly ambitious project . . . " --Harold Scheub
" . . . a definitive accounting of the evidence of living oral traditions in Africa today. Professor Okpewho's authority as an expert in this important new field is unrivaled." --Gregory Nagy
"Isidore Okpewho's African Oral Literature is a marvelous piece of scholarship and wide-ranging research. It presents the most comprehensive survey of the field of oral literature in Africa." --Emmanuel Obiechina
" . . . a tour de force of scholarship in which Okpewho casts his net across the African continent, searching for its verbal forms through voluminous recent writings and presents African oral literature in a new voice, proclaiming the literariness of African folklore." --Dan Ben-Amos
"This is an outstanding book by a scholar whose work has already influenced how African literature should be conceived. . . . Professor Okpewho is a scholar with a special talent to nurture scholarship in others. After this work, African literature will never be the same." --Mazisi Kunene
Isidore Okpewho, for many years Professor of English at the University of Ibadan, is one of the handful of African scholars who has facilitated the growth of African oral literature to its status today as a literary enterprise concerned with the artistic foundations of human culture. This comprehensive critical work firmly establishes oral literature as a landmark of high artistic achievement and situates it within the broader framework of contemporary African culture.
" . . . a model of judiciousness and integrative analysis . . . " --Research in African Literatures
Poet and anthropologist Michael Jackson brings to this study of the folktales of the Kuranko people of Sierra Leone a sensitivity to the philosophical nuances of literature.
Proverbs supposedly contain the wisdom of the common folk--eternal truths to be passed down through the ages. They are short, often humorous, expressions that teach lessons or give practical advice, and they are perhaps the best indicators of attitudes and beliefs of any form of folklore. Not only reflecting culture, proverbs also perpetuate the cultural dictates of the past, including the fears, prejudices, and misconceptions of their predominately male authors. Because they are generalizations, proverbs sometimes impede accurate observation and analysis and stifle original thought. Like many other traditions and cultural practices, proverbs often promote misleading stereotypes of women. This reference book collects more than 800 American proverbs about women and analyzes their significance.
The volume begins with introductory chapters that explore the relationship between proverbs and culture and the image of women presented in proverbs. The chapters that follow are devoted to particular categories, such as wives and 6 rriage, mothers and daughters, women as property, and old women and grandmothers. Each chapter includes a brief introductory overview and a listing of proverbs relating to the topic. The proverbs were gathered through an extensive review of journal articles, proverb dictionaries, and other literature. In addition to true proverbs, the volume includes some phrases, sayings, and proverbial comparisons. Not included are expressions that contain words like mother or daughter but do not really describe women or comment about them. The book then presents a concluding analysis of how American proverbs portray women, an alphabetical index of proverbs, and an extensive bibliography.