“I’m a Beautiful Maiden, I Spin Red Threads”: A Gender Reading of the Representation of Femininity in Yiddish Folk Songs Cover Image
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„Jestem sobie piękną dziewczyną, czerwone nici przędę” – genderowe odczytanie obrazu kobiecości w żydowskich pieśniach ludowych
“I’m a Beautiful Maiden, I Spin Red Threads”: A Gender Reading of the Representation of Femininity in Yiddish Folk Songs

Author(s): Joanna Lisek
Subject(s): Jewish studies
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: pieśni w jidysz; jidysz i gender studies; Żydówki w poezji

Summary/Abstract: The article offers a gender reading of Yiddish folk songs: lullabies, family songs, love songs, mikveh songs, lyrical dialogues between mothers and daughters. Placed in their cultural context, they are analyzed from the perspective of the female subjectivity they express. Numerous Yiddish folk songs emerged among women, who also recorded and transmitted many of them. Alongside tkhines (women’s prayers in Yiddish), folk songs constitute the most important sphere of female literary expression before the emergence of modern Yiddish literature. By means of simple forms they describe typical gender roles of a daughter, bride, wife and mother, as well as an agunah (deserted wife); quite often they also contain social criticism of the constraints these roles imposed upon them.

  • Issue Year: 16/2013
  • Issue No: 31
  • Page Range: 91-115
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: Polish