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A Bestseller In Context: Referring To The Tsene Rene In Early Modern Yiddish Books

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Chapter Summary

The book has made an impact on the reading public, copies of the book may have sold well and new editions may have continuously been prepared and printed. The printing of Yiddish books from the sixteenth century on and the ever increasing distribution of books helped to turn the Ashkenazi vernacular into a powerful cultural agent among lower and eventually also upper strata of Ashkenazi society, from Amsterdam on the shores of the North Sea to towns and villages of Eastern Europe. Already by the middle of the seventeenth century one book was recognized as a bestseller of the Yiddish language, and its stature only grew as time passed by. It is the Tsene Rene. Jacob ben Isaacs classic text was and still is identified with Yiddish culture itself.

Keywords: Amsterdam; Europe; Tsene Rene; Yiddish books

10.1163/ej.9789004191235.i-490.83
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