Synopses & Reviews
Featuring the English-language debut of Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singers “Growing Old” (originally published in Poland anonymously), the authors included in this volume range from shtetl-dwelling naifs to political activists to poets of heart-stopping genius.
The collection begins with the great awakening of Yiddish literature in the second half of the nineteenth century. An introduction to the book and thumbnail biographies of the contributors help guide the readers who are discovering these writers for the first time. There are selections from Di Klasikers the three classic figures who revitalized the language, invented new genres, and made its literature a driving force in the life of a tightly bound community. Mendele Mocher Sforim is known as the grandfather, I. L. Peretz the father, and Sholom Aleichem the son. Contemporary audiences will know of Aleichem as the author of the tales that inspired Fiddler on the Roof. Next come selections from Sholom An-ski, best known to American audiences as author of the haunting play the “Dybbuk.” Weinstein introduces a trio of Yiddish poets sweatshop poet Morris Rosenfeld, modernist Yankev Glatshteyn, and the Partisan Poet, Abraham Sutzkever and concludes with a selection of Yiddish folk songs.
This anthology of short stories, folk songs, and poems from the late 19th century represents the full spectrum of Yiddish culture, in which writers range from shtetl dwellers and sweatshop poets to modernists and political activists. The book's Introduction, together with thumbnail biographies of the contributors, is particularly geared toward readers discovering Yiddish literature for the first time.
About the Author
MIRIAM WEINSTEIN is the author of Yiddish: A Nation of Words (Steerforth 2001, Ballantine 2002). A freelance journalist whose features have won several awards from the New England Press Association, Weinstein grew up in the Bronx following World War II, a time and place where Yiddish was standard fare. She now lives in Manchester, Massachusetts with her husband, and has two grown children.