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‎17 Adar I 5784 | ‎26/02/2024

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Dr. Jerold C. Frakes: Bovo-Bukh, a Medieval Yiddish Tale of Chivalry

Dr. Jerold C. Frakes: Bovo-Bukh, a Medieval Yiddish Tale of Chivalry

ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: What popular Yiddish expression has its origin in the title of the medieval epic Bovo-Bukh?

Dr. Jerold C. Frakes is a professor emeritus of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a highly-regarded scholar of medieval European literatures, especially German, Latin, Norse, and Yiddish. During the 2013-14 academic year, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship to support his study of the emergence of early Yiddish literature. He has also received fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among many other awards.

Professor Frakes is the author of six books about the literature of medieval and early modern Europe, He has edited or translated a dozen other books, including several on Yiddish literature. He has also served on the editorial board of several journals and as editor of the Yiddish Literature Division of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, second edition, published in 2006.

Dr. Frakes has done considerable research on the emergence of Yiddish literature in the late medieval period. It was not until the late 14th century that an extensive and thriving epic tradition emerged in Yiddish. Among the few dozen surviving early epics, there are several masterpieces, of which ten are translated into English in his most recent book, Early Yiddish Epic. He spoke with us about one of them, Bovo-Bukh, which was the most popular chivalric romance in the Yiddish language.

(NOTE: This interview was originally posted in 2015.)