Yosef Perl was a satirist, and is often described as a maskil. A vigorous opponent of hasidim in particular, he was active in the middle of the 19th century when the stories of Rebbe Nachman and Shivchei haBesht were first published. His most famous work is Megaleh Temirin (1819), which he published under a pseudonym.

His first satirical work was not published during his lifetime, and I've been unable to even find what it was called. It was a parody of Rebbe Nachman's stories, written in the same style (in a combination of Hebrew and Yiddish), providing a comic conclusion to one story that ended suddenly in the original, and inventing another story from whole cloth. Perl's style in all of his writings was to ridicule hasidim by way of imitation, and I would very much like to see an example of this.

If anybody here is familiar with maskilic literature and could recommend to me where I might find more information about Yosef Perl, that would be great. Ideally, I would love to see a copy of this particular text (his parody of Rebbe Nachman's stories). I understand that it's almost certainly not for sale, but if there is a published version in a library somewhere, I should be able to get it through an interlibrary loan. (And, if not, maybe one day take a vacation...)

From what I understand, Perl had a negligible impact upon the subsequent history of maskilic literature. He was a frum Jew, and is probably better classed together with misnagdim than maskilim, but for the fact that he also published in German and availed himself of the writings of other wordly, cosmopolitan Jews (like Menachem Mendel Lefin, for example).

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    Is this on topic? Is this about Judaism or Letzanism? – user6591 Dec 29 '16 at 22:53
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    @user6591, Yosef Perl was Jewish. His book was written in Hebrew and Yiddish. It relates directly to social movements of some significance that existed in the Jewish world in the 19th century. I think it's very much on topic. (And parody is a very well-established genre in Jewish writing, even if you don't approve of the object of it here.) – Shimon bM Dec 29 '16 at 22:59
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    @user6591 - that's a question for Meta. (I would argue no, it's not appropriate). It's also totally different. There's more than one type of Judaism. If the only type of Judaism that had ever existed was hasidic Judaism, maybe you'd have a point. But misnagdim are Jews too :) And Yosef Perl wasn't mocking religious Jews, he was mocking some religious Jews. He was also religious, as I noted in the question. – Shimon bM Dec 29 '16 at 23:06
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    Do you mean: מעשיות ואיגרות, מצדיקים אמיתיים ומאנשי שלומנו? – Loewian Dec 30 '16 at 1:30
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    @Loewian Good job. You should post this as the answer. – Mike Dec 30 '16 at 10:05

The text that you are looking for is referred to by @Loewian in the comments. However, it should be noted that some strongly doubt the ascription of this book to Joseph Perl; most notably was the bibliographer A.M. Habermann (Kvuzei Yachad 143ff.). One of the main reasons for the skeptics' doubt is because Perl was anti-Yiddish, while this book incorporates Yiddish into its text (as noted by OP). However it may be argued that Perl may have made an exception as alluded to at the end of his intro. to his Megaleh Temirin here.

Another book that was posthumously printed and ascribed to Perl is the collection of Yiddish letters. This book too is a subject of dispute (Habermann, loc. cit.).

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  • Comments might get deleted. You should move anything important into the body of the answer. – magicker72 Oct 26 '17 at 19:23
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    This isn't an answer - it's a comment, which refers to another comment, which was the actual answer. I'm confused. Why don't you move Loewian's comment into this so that it contains an answer to my question? Also, Perl's antipathy towards Yiddish is the very reason that he employed it here. As mentioned, it's a parody. – Shimon bM Oct 27 '17 at 2:13
  • @ShimonbM Honestly, I just don't know how to move a comment into an answer. By all means, you can. Though now I'm confused too: you asked where you can locate a certain text. I then referenced a link to it which was provided by Loewian. I further enhanced the answer by providing information about the text in question since your whole q. revolves around a point of contention - something you neglected to mention. Finally, I furnished you with a source for your query on how "[you] might find more information about Yosef Perl". So how is this not an answer? – Oliver Oct 27 '17 at 3:03

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