Laughter Through Tears: The Wise Men of Chelm and the Holocaust in Nathan Englander's Story “The Tumblers” Cover Image
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Śmiech przez łzy. Mędrcy z Chełma i Holokaust w opowiadaniu Nathana Englandera The Tumblers
Laughter Through Tears: The Wise Men of Chelm and the Holocaust in Nathan Englander's Story “The Tumblers”

Author(s): Brygida Gasztold
Subject(s): Jewish studies
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Nathan Englander; literatura żydowska

Summary/Abstract: “The Tumblers” is one of the stories from Nathan Englander’s debut collection of short fiction entitled For the Relief of Unbearable Urges (1999). In this story a group of orthodox Jews from the Chelm ghetto tries to impersonate a troupe of acrobats in order to escape transportation to the death camps. The humorous stories of the Sages/Fools of Chelm, popularized for a wider international audience by Isaac Bashevis Singer, are a vital part of Yiddish folklore. Englander’s story delivers a fresh perspective on the lost world of the Eastern European shtetl by juxtaposing comedy with the horrors of the Holocaust in an unlikely combination of farce, irony, and profundity.

  • Issue Year: 16/2013
  • Issue No: 32
  • Page Range: 171-186
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Polish