Picturing Yiddish

Gender, Identity, and Memory in the Illustrated Yiddish Books of Renaissance Italy


This is the first comprehensive study of the images in five profusely illustrated Yiddish books that were produced in sixteenth-century Italy: a manuscript of Jewish customs illustrated by its scribe, and two books of customs, a chivalric romance, and a book of fables, all printed at Christian presses in Venice and Verona. The long-neglected manuscript includes more than one hundred drawings, here reproduced for the first time, which are strikingly inventive and full of a joie de vivre that gives the lie to the lachrymose view of Jewish history. This volume, which explores how Yiddish imagery constructs women, Jewish memory, and Jewish identity, will interest art historians, feminist scholars, Jewish Studies specialists, and specialists in the history of the book.


EUR €162.00USD $196.00

Biographical Note

Diane Wolfthal, Ph.D. (1983) in Art History, New York University, is Associate Professor at Arizona State University. She has authored books on images of rape and Netherlandish canvases, and published numerous articles on late medieval and early modern art.


All those interested in medieval and early modern history and art history; Jewish Studies; Christian/Jewish relations; Yiddish culture; Religious Studies; Feminist Studies; Italian culture; and the history of the book.