A Selection of Great Yiddish Literature
Featuring the English-language debut of Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “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.
Praise for Prophets and Dreamers
“This collection of stories and verse contains the essence of Yiddish literature…Highly recommended.”— Library Journal
“It is difficult to resist this labor of love…Yiddish literature will remain relevant once it sheds its protective halo of rosy nostalgia to expose the complexity of the raw, haunting power beneath — a feat perhaps only the editor of an anthology can accomplish.”— Forward