Glikl: Memoirs 1691-1719

Annotated with an introduction by Chava Turniansky; English translation by Sara Friedman

Cover of "Glikl: Memoirs 1691-1719"

“My dear children, I write this for you in case your dear children or grandchildren come to you one of these days, knowing nothing of their family. For this reason I have set this down for you here in brief, so that you might know what kind of people you come from.”

These words from the memoirs Glikl bas Leyb wrote in Yiddish between 1691 and 1719 shed light on the life of a devout and worldly woman. Writing initially to seek solace in the long nights of her widowhood, Glikl continued to record the joys and tribulations of her family and community in an account unique for its impressive literary talents and strong invocation of self. Through intensely personal recollections, Glikl weaves stories and traditional tales that express her thoughts and beliefs. While influenced by popular Yiddish moral literature, Glikl's frequent use of first person and the significance she assigns her own life experience set the work apart.

Informed by fidelity to the original Yiddish text, this authoritative new translation is fully annotated to explicate Glikl’s life and times, offering readers a rich context for appreciating this classic work.

Purchase from Brandeis University Press

About the Author

Chava Turniansky is professor emerita in the Department of Yiddish at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her fields of research include the history of Yiddish literature and Ashkenazi culture, especially in the Early Modern Period. She is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and an Israel Prize Laureate. Her critical edition and Hebrew translation of Glikl’s memoirs was awarded the Bialik Prize in Jewish Studies.