Tales of Mendele the Book Peddler: Fishke the Lame and Benjamin the Third

Overview

The founding father of modern Yiddish fiction, Abramovitsh created a rich tapestry of small-town Jewish life in the Russian Pale of Settlement with stories full of humor, heart, and homespun truths. Here are two of his best-known and best-loved tales: "Fishke the Lame" and "Benjamin the Third."
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Overview

The founding father of modern Yiddish fiction, Abramovitsh created a rich tapestry of small-town Jewish life in the Russian Pale of Settlement with stories full of humor, heart, and homespun truths. Here are two of his best-known and best-loved tales: "Fishke the Lame" and "Benjamin the Third."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dubbed "the grandfather of Yiddish literature" by Sholem Aleichem, Abramovitsh (1835-1917) was renowned in the latter half of the 19th century for putting the Eastern European shtetl and its impoverished inhabitants under the magnifying glass of literary realism. Indeed, he has a splendid eye for detail: the pages here bristle with robust descriptions of people, animals and scenery that, in the piquant vernacular of the translation, recall Mark Twain. But unlike Twain, in "Fishke the Lame" (1888), a novella-length monologue by an itinerant country peddler, Abramovitsh doesn't propel his observations with much narrative drive. The overall result is a sluggish, meandering river of words that readers, especially those who have slogged through the 70 pages of dissertation-like introduction, may want to climb out of midstream. The short story, "Benjamin the Third," (1878) would have been a better choice to open this volume. Here, Abramovitsh is in fine form with a smartly paced mock-epic recounting of the misadventures of an ignorant rube from a tiny shtetl who goes off to find the Holy Land. Apart from the latter tale, this tome is best appreciated by those of scholarly bent. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805210132
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Series: Library of Yiddish Classics
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
A Note on the Translations
Fishke the Lame: A Book of Jewish Poorfolk 1
The Brief Travels of Benjamin the Third 299
Glossary 393
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