The Hidden Isaac Bashevis Singer

Overview

Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer stands virtually alone among prominent writers for being more widely known through translations of his work than through the original texts. Yet readers and critics of the Yiddish originals have long pointed out that the English versions are generally shortened, often shorn of much description and religious matter, and their perspectives and denouements are significantly altered. In short, they turn the Yiddish author into a Jewish-American English writer, detached...

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The Hidden Isaac Bashevis Singer

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Overview

Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer stands virtually alone among prominent writers for being more widely known through translations of his work than through the original texts. Yet readers and critics of the Yiddish originals have long pointed out that the English versions are generally shortened, often shorn of much description and religious matter, and their perspectives and denouements are significantly altered. In short, they turn the Yiddish author into a Jewish-American English writer, detached from of his Eastern European Jewish literary and cultural roots.

By contrast, this collection of essays by leading Yiddish scholars seeks to recover the authentic voice and vision of the writer known to his Yiddish readers as Yitskhok Bashevis. The essays are grouped around four themes:

  • The Yiddish language and the Yiddish cultural experience in Bashevis's writings
  • Thematic approaches to the study of Bashevis's literature
  • Bashevis's interface with other times and cultures
  • Interpretations of Bashevis's autobiographical writings

A special feature of this volume is the inclusion of Joseph Sherman's new, faithful translation of a chapter from Bashevis's Yiddish "underworld" novel Yarme and Keyle.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The motive of this collection is admirable: finding and exploring the connections between modern Jewish spirituality and the writings of Nobel prize winner Singer. A master storyteller, the deft and fascinating Singer has always been burdened by literal-minded critics and expositors who fail to see his dark comedy. So it is here with Wolitz (comparative literature, Univ. of Texas, Austin). Still, it is good to be stimulated to think again about Singer's work. For collections where there is a strong Jewish readership. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292728684
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
I. The Yiddish Language and the Yiddish Cultural
Experience in Bashevis's Writings

1. Irving Saposnik: A Canticle for Isaac: A Kaddish for Bashevis
2. Joseph Sherman: Bashevis/Singer and the Jewish Pope
3. Avrom Noversztern: History, Messianism, and Apocalypse in Bashevis's Work
4. Mark L. Louden: Sociolinguistic Views of Isaac Bashevis Singer

II. Thematic Approaches to the Study of Bashevis's Fiction

5. Leonard Prager Bilom in Bashevis's Der knekht (The Slave): A khaye hot oykh a neshome (An animal also has a soul)
6. Alan Astro: Art and Religion in Der bal-tshuve (The Penitent)
7. Jan Schwarz: "Death Is the Only Messiah": Three Supernatural Stories by Yitskhok Bashevis

III. Bashevis's Interface With Other Times And Cultures

8 Astrid Starck-Adler: Bashevis's Interactions with the Mayse-bukh (Book of Tales)

9 Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska: The Role of Polish Language and Literature in Bashevis's Fiction

IV. Interpretations of Bashevis's Autobiographical Writings

10 Nathan Cohen: Revealing Bashevis's Earliest Autobiographical Novel, Varshe 1914-1918 (Warsaw 1914-1918)

11 Itzik Gottesman: Folk and Folklore in the Work of Bashevis 162
12 Janet Hadda: Bashevis at Forverts 173

V. Bashevis's Untranslated "Gangster" Novel: Yarme Un Keyle

13 Joseph Sherman: A Background Note on the Translation of Yarme un keyle

14. Isaac Bashevis Singer: Yarme and Keyle: Chapter 2, translated by Joseph Sherman

Appendix: Seth L. Wolitz and Joseph Sherman
Bashevis Singer as a Regionalist of Lublin Province: A Note
Glossary
Notes on Contributors
Index

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