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A contextual analysis of the jewish italian elegy at the time of the ghettos (sixteenth–eighteenth centuries)

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Chapter Summary

A literary analysis that concentrates solely on the forms and the stylistic modes of the lamentations (qinot) will emphasize only the fixity and the repetitiveness of the poetic conventions which have been used by the qinot authors from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the modern age. Until the confinement of Italian Jews in ghettos at the end of the Sixteenth century, lamentations were usually provoked by political catastrophes (e.g., foreign invasions, wars, persecutions, and expulsions). By contrast, the age of the ghettos was dominated until the late eighteenth century by lamentations commemorating everyday news (e.g., the collapse of the roof of a synagogue, a fire, or an earthquake). This chapter presents the statistical data that support these observations as far as Italy is concerned and suggests some possible explanations for this change.

Keywords: ghettos; Italian Jews; lamentations; political catastrophes; qinot authors



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