Antedating of schlemiel (1889)

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Tue Feb 24 01:59:35 UTC 2004

    This is in reference to the ads-l antedating of "shlemiel" to the
early 19th century. ----

Here are a few references on "shlemiel"
1) In _Studies in Slang, part 1_ (= Forum Anglicum, vol. 14/1),
edited by Gerald Leonard Cohen, (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang), 1985:
  NATHAN SÜSSKIND (and very secondarily GERALD COHEN): "Origin of
_shlemiel_ 'simpleton, unlucky bungler'-- pp. 71-84
a) "Nathan Süsskind's treatment in Copeland-Süsskind 1976" 71
b) "N. Süsskind, Gerald Cohen: Further thoughts on _shlemiehl_" 78

2)In _Studies in Slang, part 3_ (= Forum Anglicum, vol. 20, edited by
Gerald Leonard Cohen (Peter Lang: Frankfurt a.M.), 1993:
Gerald Cohen: "More on _shlemiel_", pp. 156-159.

     The origins of "shlemiel" go back well beyond the 19th century,
to a Talmudic story involving Zimri (identified with Shelumiel in the
Talmud), who got himself into a first-class pickle and was slain by
Modesty precludes me from going into further detail here, but
Süsskind has it all spelled out.

   Btw, the late Nathan Süsskind was Professor Emeritus of German and
Jewish Studies (City College, NYC) when I first met him in the 1980s.
I was startled to see that he had a variety of manuscripts in various
stages of completion but had resigned himself to not publishing any
more. I quickly realized that circumstances had presented me with an
important task for the scholarly community, namely encouraging him to
complete his unfinished work and publishing it. His items appeared in
my series of working papers _Comments on Etymology_, primarily in a
supplement I started for him, _Comments on Judaism_. I later compiled
the most important ones in my _Etymology and Linguistic Principles_
(vol. 2; 1991).

Gerald Cohen
University of Missouri-Rolla

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