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The Dybbuk Century

The Jewish Play That Possessed the World

Subjects: Theater and Performance, Jewish Studies, Literary Studies, European Literature
Open Access : 9780472903856, 306 pages, 11 images, 6 x 9, October 2023
Paperback : 9780472056439, 306 pages, 11 images, 6 x 9, October 2023
Hardcover : 9780472076437, 306 pages, 11 images, 6 x 9, October 2023
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How a 100-year-old play about spiritual possession beyond the grave continues to engage and fascinate


A little over 100 years ago, the first production of An-sky’s The Dybbuk, a play about the possession of a young woman by a dislocated spirit, opened in Warsaw. In the century that followed, The Dybbuk became a theatrical conduit for a wide range of discourses about Jews, belonging, and modernity. This timeless Yiddish play about spiritual possession beyond the grave would go on to exert a remarkable and unforgettable impact on modern theater, film, literature, music, and culture. 
The Dybbuk Century collects essays from an interdisciplinary group of scholars who explore the play’s original Yiddish and Hebrew productions and offer critical reflections on the play’s enduring influence. The collection will appeal to scholars, students, and theater practitioners, as well as general readers.

Debra Caplan is Associate Professor of Theatre at the Graduate Center and Baruch College, City University of New York.
Rachel Merrill Moss is Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater at Colgate University.

“Offers new insights into The Dybbuk and of some of its noteworthy productions and adaptations . . . The book augments earlier scholarship that situates the play squarely among the great achievements of 20th-century Western theater, astutely probes its complicated and nuanced gender politics, walks us through numerous examples of how it was received in its early years, and takes us on a tour of how it has inspired, and continues to inspire, artists and audiences.”

- Joel Berkowitz, University of Wisconsin

“The essays in this volume, like The Dybbuk and its performers themselves, roam across Europe, the United States, and the Middle East as they examine the play’s origins, incarnations, and the controversies it has raised. The scholarship is not only sound and well-written, but also engaging and often moving.”

- Barbara Henry, University of Washington

Read: Article in Forward Magazine | October 5, 2023