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VIDVILT (Kenig Artis Houf ), anonymous 15th–16th-century Yiddish epic. This Arthurian romance of the chivalric adventures of Sir Vidvilt (and his father Gawain), based on Wirnt von Gravenberg's 13th-century Middle High German Wigalois, proved to be one of the most enduringly popular secular narratives in Yiddish literary history, with numerous manuscript recensions, printings (the first in an extensively expanded version by Joseph b. Alexander Witzenhausen, Amsterdam 1671), and reprintings, in rhymed couplets, ottava rima (Prague 1671–79), and prose, over the course of three and a half centuries. The anonymous poet of the earliest Yiddish version composed more than 2,100 rhymed couplets (probably in northern Italy), following Wirnt's plot rather closely through the first three-quarters of the narrative (abbreviating much and generally eliminating specific Christian reference), before offering quite a different conclusion. Typical of early Yiddish epic, vocabulary from the Semitic component is avoided.


L. Landau (ed.), Arthurian Legends, or the Hebrew-German Rhymed Version of the Legend of King Arthur (1912); I. Linn (ed.), "Widwilt, Son of Gawain" (Diss., New York University, 1942); R.G. Warnock, in: V.M. Lagorio (ed.), King Arthur Through the Agesi (1990), 189–208; J.C. Frakes (ed.), Early Yiddish Texts: 11001750 (2004), 453–60, 692–713.

[Jerold C. Frakes (2nd ed.)]