Antonio's Devils deals both historically and theoretically with the origins of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature by tracing the progress of a few remarkable writers who, for various reasons and in various ways, cited Scripture for their own purpose, as Antonio's "devil," Shylock, does in The Merchant of Venice.
By examining the work of key figures in the early history of Jewish literature through the prism of their allusions to classical Jewish texts, the book focuses attention on the magnificent and highly complex strategies the maskilim employed to achieve their polemical and ideological goals. Dauber uses this methodology to examine foundational texts by some of the Jewish Enlightenment's most interesting and important authors, reaching new and often surprising conclusions.
"This fascinating new study of modern Hebrew and Yiddish literature is not only an excellent academic piece of work, but an accessible and compelling read."
—The Jerusalem Post
"The book not only offers an overview of the early poetic, linguistic, and social challenges of Yiddish and Hebrew literature; it invites the reader to examine the varied contexts of the Jewish Enlightenment as a means of better understanding Modern Jewish Culture."
"Dauber has produced a first-rate book, at once interesting and eminently readable, and both historians and students of Jewish literature will learn much. Given that this is a first book from a young scholar, Antonio's Devils is a most impressive offering, one that would elicit from his maskilic protagonists the hope that he produce books without limit."
"Dauber's textual exegesis is often very instructive."