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Ajs Review, 1988: Nos 1 and 2 by Robert Chazan

By Robert Chazan

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13. Miron, Bo'ah, laylah, pp. 91-92. 14. All references are to the critical ed. of Dos meserl prepared by Chone Shmeruk (Jerusalem and Cincinnati, 1983) as a sample text of the Complete Edition of Sholem Aleykhem's Works. 32 DAVID G. ROSKIES how they picked me up from the floor half-dead;how I lay in bed for two weeks on end croakinglike a frog, and kept on babblingsomethingabout lashesand penknives... peoplethoughtthat I was alreadydead,God forbid ... and then, suddenly,I sneezedseventimes, and cameto, as if arisenfrom the dead...

The investigation of textual meaning, vs. " Jauss, as we have seen, builds on Husserl and Ingarden to provide us with the conceptual tools for a sound literary history. The notion of secularism is no less troublesome. While it derives from "of this world" as opposed to the world of faith (originally: of the Church), its Hebrew equivalent, hol, is by no means as distinct, since traditionally the hol was embraced by a world whose coordinates were categorically kodesh. Though oblivious to historical research, Kurzweil's distinction between traditional hulin and modern hulin was valuable.

We certainly cannot simply equate it with a vague notion of secularism and go on from there. An analysis of eighteenthcentury texts precludes the possibility of this common option. We cannot, furthermore, avoid the difficulties of the problem by facilely attaching the literary problem, which has its own determinants, to general considerations of Haskalah culture (which, incidentally, is fraught with ambiguities) and therefore claim that the literature is "modern" rather than "medieval"whatever that means.

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