By Ken Frieden
Yiddish literature, regardless of its notable achievements in the course of an period bounded via Russian reforms within the 1860s and the 1st international struggle, hasn't ever earlier than been surveyed by way of a scholarly monograph in English. vintage Yiddish Fiction offers an outline and translates the Yiddish fiction of S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and that i. L. Peretz. whereas studying their works, Frieden situates those 3 authors of their literary global and in terms of their cultural contexts. or 3 generations in the past, Yiddish used to be the first language of Jews in Europe and the US. at the present time, following the Nazi genocide and part a century of lively assimilation, Yiddish is sinking into oblivion. via delivering a bridge to the misplaced continent of Yiddish literature, Frieden returns to these eu traditions. This trip again to Ashkenazic origins additionally encompasses broader horizons, because the improvement of Yiddish tradition in Europe and the United States parallels the heritage of alternative ethnic traditions.
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Extra info for Classic Yiddish Fiction: Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and Peretz
In contrast, Fishke the Lame fully integrates Mendele into the novel as its first-person narrator. THE LITTLE MAN The Little Man (Dos kleyne mentshele, 1864-65) incorporates autobiographical elements in what is essentially a Bildungsroman, a novel of education. Framed by prefatory and concluding narratives by Mendele the Bookseller, it consists of Isaac-Abraham's letter recounting his life story. The fictional author of this epistolary autobiography tells a story of Jewish life in the small towns of Eastern Europe, as he moves from poverty through apprenticeships and Literature, Fourth Collection, ed.
6Solomon, Son of Chaim (Shloyme reb Khaim's), in Ale verk fun Mendele Moykher Sforim (S. Y Abramovitsh) (Cracow: Farlag Mendele, 1911), vol. 2, p. 26; henceforth cited as "SRK" by page alone. 7See Abramovitsh's autobiographical essay in Sefer zikharon le-sofrei yisra'el hachaim 'itanu ka-yom, ed. Nachum Sokolov (Warsaw: Halter, 1889), p. 118, henceforth cited as "SZ" by page alone. Lev Binshtok also recalls that, as a boy, Abramovitsh had little conception of European literature, which differentiates him from both Sholern Aleichem and Peretz.
In contrast to the Talmud, which resembled a marketplace-with its exchanges between hundreds of rabbis across centuries-aggadah or legend seemed to him an orchard, an expansive field without an orderly plan. Abramovitsh remembered having been awakened on winter mornings and walking to the House of Study while it was still dark. The beauty of nature inspired him "to learn with all my heart .... My soul longed for God's Torah, to know all the secrets of the Talmud" (SZ 118). This sentimental, spiritualized recollection is at odds with the underlying thrust of Abramovitsh's fictional descriptions, in which he ob8Lev Binshtok, "A Celebration of Yiddish Literature: Solomon Moiseevitsh Abramovitsh and His Twenty-Fifth Year of Literary Activity," unpublished translation from the Russian by Jack Blanshei, p.
Classic Yiddish Fiction: Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and Peretz by Ken Frieden