Falmouth Jewish Congregation presents a talk by member and scholar Thelma Fenster “Bovo-Buch: Elia Levita, Jewish Intellectual, Writes Pulp Fiction for Pious Ladies”
Thursday, July 28
Brown Bag Lunch at Noon (Bring a lunch – FJC provides drinks) / 12:30 P.M. Talk
RSVP by July 25 to help us plan; all are welcome.
This program is free of charge and open to the public
Come learn about a Jewish classic you probably don’t know
A Jewish knight who speaks Yiddish in sixteenth-century Italy? A rollicking story for frume vayber (pious women) to pass the time on Shabbes? Really? Is this a bubbe-mayse? No! It’s Elia Levita’s flirtatious Bovo-Buch, or the story of Bovo, who married a Jewish princess and then had a lot of problems. Forced to wander in the forest with his wife and a faithful half-man, half-dog companion named Pelukan, Bovo is a hapless warrior and a lackluster, inexperienced lover—the Li’l Abner of the Jewish courtly class. Levita says he wrote Bovo-Buch to please the ladies, and from all evidence, it did. As a send-up of romances of chivalry (think: King Arthur, Lancelot, Perceval), Bovo pokes vicious and often coarse fun at the idea of a heroic knight who can defeat all comers (Bovo can’t) and win ladies’ hearts (how on earth does he do it?).
Thelma is Professor Emerita of Old and Middle French Language and Culture at Fordham University. Her publications include Arthurian Women: A Casebook (repr. 2000); translations with Jocelyn Wogan-Browne of Matthew Paris’s History of Saint Edward the King; Paris’s Life of St. Alban. She is co-editor of the French of England Translation Series. Thelma’s current projects include new editions and translations of Christine de Pizan’s Epistre au dieu dAmours and Dit de la Rose, with up-to-date critical essay; with co-editors Jocelyn Wogan-Browne and Delbert Russell: an anthology of texts in the “French of England.”