Ahavat Yesharim, Sarah Feiga Foner Meinkin, Vilna 1881 (47920)

אהבת ישרים - Only Edition - Women

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Listing Details

Lot Number: 47920
Title (English): Ahavat Yesharim
Title (Hebrew): אהבת ישרים
Note: Only Edition - Women
Author: Sarah Feiga Foner Meinkin
City: Vilna
Publisher: דפוס אברהם הירש קאצינעלינבויגען
Publication Date: 1881
Estimated Price: $200.00 USD - $500.00 USD
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Physical Description

Only edition, octavo, 149 pp. 180:125 mm., wide margins, age staining. A good copy bound in the original wrappers.


Detail Description

Only edition of this novel from a new time by Sarah Feiga Foner bas Joseph Meinkin. Ahavat Yesharim (A Righteous Love) is the first Hebrew novel by a woman. Although it seems merely to imitate male Haskalah novel-writing conventions, the author did not abandon her authentic female voice (from which she retreats in her later works). It comes out in the lively, persuasive, and colorful descriptions of the character and world of the heroine, Finnalia, her relationships (especially with other women), and her domestic life. Feminist criticism of her society also finds expression: When describing arranged marriages in Galicia, the narrator critically comments on fathers who use their daughters for business deals, "like horses and donkeys."

Sarah Feiga Foner Meinkin (1854-97) was descended from the Vilna Gaon. She has been described as the only woman who dared to write novels during the 1880s. She published four Hebrew books, three of them works of fiction: A Righteous Love, or The Pursued Family (first volume 1881; the second was never published) The Treachery of Traitors (1891), and a children's didactic story, Children's Way or A Story From Jerusalem (1886). The fourth book was her memoirs (Memories of My Childhood, or A Memoir of Dvinsk, 1903). She Foner wrote about the issues that concerned her most in the language she loved most, Hebrew. At the age of five and a half, Meinkin informed her mother that she wanted to learn the aleph-bet, and within two decades she demonstrated her acquired mastery of the language when she became the author of the first Hebrew novel ever published by a woman. The novel’s title Ahavat yesharim o hamishpahot hamurdafot (1881) (A Righteous Love or The Pursued Families) echoes that of the first novel in Hebrew, Abraham Mapu’s (1808–1867) Ahavat Ziyyon (1853) (Love of Zion).


Hebrew Description

 או המשפחות המרדפות. ספור מן העת החדשה. חבר על ידי העלמה שרה פייגה בת ר’ יוסף מיינקין מריגא... (חלק א).



Bibliography of the Hebrew Book 1470-1960 #000157099; Be alef 725; EJ; The Encyclopedia of Jewish Women