Unveiling Eve: Reading Gender in Medieval Hebrew Literature

Unveiling Eve: Reading Gender in Medieval Hebrew Literature

by Tova Rosen

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Overview

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Unveiling Eve is the first feminist inquiry into the Hebrew poetry and prose forms cultivated in Muslim and Christian Spain, Italy, and Provence in the eleventh through fourteenth centuries. In the Jewish Middle Ages, writing was an exclusively male competence, and textual institutions such as the study of scripture, mysticism, philosophy, and liturgy were men's sanctuaries from which women were banished. These domains of male expertise—alongside belles lettres, on which Rosen's book focuses—served as virtual laboratories for experimenting with concepts of femininity and masculinity, hetero- and homosexuality, feminization and virilization, transvestism and transsexuality. Reviewing texts as varied as love lyric, love stories, marriage debates, rhetorical contests, and liturgical and moralistic pieces, Tova Rosen considers the positions and positioning of female figures and female voices within Jewish male discourse.

The idolization and demonization of women present in these texts is read here against the background of scripture and rabbinic literature as well as the traditions of chivalry and misogyny in the hosting Islamic and Christian cultures. Unveiling Eve unravels the literary evidence of a patriarchal tradition in which women are routinely rendered nonentities, often positioned as abstractions without bodies or reified as bodies without subjectivities. Without rigidly following any one school of feminist thinking, Rosen creatively employs a variety of methodologies to describe and assess the texts' presentation of male sexual politics and delineate how women and concepts of gender were manipulated, fictionalized, fantasized, and poeticized. Inaugurating a new era of critical thinking in Hebrew literature, Unveiling Eve penetrates a field of medieval literary scholarship that has, until now, proven impervious to feminist criticism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812203592
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/23/2013
Series: Jewish Culture and Contexts
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Tova Rosen is Associate Professor of Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University.

Table of Contents

Preface

1 No-Woman's-Land: Medieval Hebrew Literature and Feminist Criticism
2 Gazing at the Gazelle: Woman in Male Love Lyric
3 Veils and Wiles: Poetry as Woman
4 Poor Soul, Pure Soul: The Soul as Woman
5 Domesticating the Enemy: Misogamy in a Jewish Marriage Debate
6 Among Men: Homotextuality in the Maqama
7 Clothes Reading: Cross-Dressing in the Maqama
8 Circumcised Cinderella: Jewish Gender Trouble

Afterword
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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