Leaves from the Garden of Eden

Leaves from the Garden of Eden : One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales

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In Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Howard Schwartz, a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has gathered together one hundred of the most astonishing and luminous stories from Jewish folk tradition. Just as Schwartz's award-winning book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism collected the essential myths of Jewish tradition, Leaves from the Garden of Eden collects one hundred essential Jewish tales. As imaginative as the Arabian Nights, these stories invoke enchanted worlds, demonic realms, and mystical experiences. The four most popular types of Jewish tales are gathered here - fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales - taking readers on heavenly journeys, lifelong quests, and descents to the underworld. King David is still alive in the City of Luz, which the Angel of Death cannot enter, and somewhere deep in the forest a mysterious cottage contains the candle of your soul. In these stories, a bride who is not careful may end up marrying a demon, while the charm sewn into a dress may drive a pious woman to lascivious behavior.
There is a dybbuk lurking in a well, a book that comes to life, and a world where Lilith, the Queen of Demons, seduces the unsuspecting. Here too are Jewish versions of many of the best-known tales, including "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel." Schwartz's retelling of one of these stories, "The Finger," inspired Tim Burton's film Corpse Bride. With its broad selection from written and oral sources, Leaves from the Garden of Eden is a landmark collection, representing the full range of Jewish folklore, from the Talmud to the present. It is a must-read for everyone who loves fiction and an ideal holiday gift.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 540 pages
  • 154.94 x 238.76 x 43.18mm | 907.18g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195335651
  • 9780195335651

Review quote

"The cast of characters alone is stunning: Moses and Elijah, David and Solomon, angels and demons, wonder-working rabbis and evil sorcerers, princes and peasants, even Jewish versions of Snow White and Cinderella...This book is a big, beguiling gem, changing colors as you tilt it toward the light. From one angle, it's a world of inventive adventures that children will love; from another angle, a collection of religious allegories that will engage and challenge adults; from yet another angle, a shimmering record of Jewish dreams."--JBooks.com"Looking for tales about demon marriages or angel encounters, magic spells or epic quests? They're all right here, and then some."--Jerusalem Post In the learned introduction to "Leaves From the Garden of Eden," Schwartz performs the admirable feat of dissecting how and why these tales have lasted so long without allowing the spotlight he shines on them to reduce their ability to delight. ...With Schwartz as their guide through this Garden of Eden, [readers] will find not only enchanting stories but a new understanding of a heritage that lives on, strongly. Four years after Tree of Souls took our breaths away with myths of the Jewish tradition, three-time National Jewish Book Award winner Howard Schwartz now brings us a reference pulsing with one hundred magical, miraculous, and spiritual Jewish stories. ...Comprehensive notes and commentary root each story and draw its ties to Jewish tradition. The five appendices are crowning jewels, which also define and index the tales by source, story cycle (of, about, and by key protagonists), countries of origin, specialized subject types, and Arne-Thompson tale types."-- ewish Book World
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About Howard Schwartz

Howard Schwartz is Professor of English at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is the editor of four important collections of Jewish folklore: Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural, and Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. He is also the author of Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis and Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005.
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Table of contents

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Rating details

29 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 45% (13)
4 41% (12)
3 14% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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