Synopses & Reviews
, regarded as the classic drama of the Yiddish stage, has long frightened yet fascinated audiences throughout the world. Based on Jewish folklore, its dark implications of mysterious, other-worldly forces at work in a quaint and simple village make for gripping, suspenseful theater. To the Chassidic Jews of eastern Europe, a dybbuk was not a legend or a myth; rather it remained a constant and portentous possibility. During that age of pervasive mysticism, when rabbis became miracle workers and the sinister arts of the Kabbala were fearsomely invoked, it was never doubted that a discontented spirit from the dead could cross the barrier between the "real" and the "other" worlds to enter a living human body. is a masterful play, full of deep-rooted obsessions and dramatic suspense, fascinating for the glimpse it provides of the rich, poetic, and often tragic culture of the Chassidim. In this classic translation by Henry Alsberg and Winifred Katzin, the authentic cadences of the original Yiddish are deftly preserved.
The dybbuk, a dead person's soul that possesses a living person, is an ancient and fascinating part of Jewish folklore in Eastern Europe. The stories in this collection, none of which has been translated before, illuminate the different aspects of the Jewish mystical world, including possessions, transmigration, fairy tales, parables and miracles.
"Ansky's is a wonderful play. It is pleasant to be reminded of its dark grandeur again. . . . All the wonder, faith, piety and terror of the story are woven into [the] last act as if it were a religious tapestry." --