"Showcases to superb effect the short fiction of Yiddish writing’s three early masters. Frieden has done an excellent editing job, and the translators deserve applause for their meticulous work. Highly recommended for Jewish studies collections."—Library Journal
"This is a book for every collection—university, synagogue, yeshiva, and public library—and is highly recommended for your personal library."—AJL Newsletter
Two novellas by S. Y. Abramovitsh open this collection of the best short works by three influential nineteenth-century Jewish authors. Abra- movitsh’s alter ego—Mendele the Book Peddler—introduces himself and narrates both The Little Man and Fishke the Lame. His cast of characters includes Isaac Abraham as tailor’s apprentice, choirboy, and corrupt businessman; Mendele’s friend Wine ’n’ Candles Alter; and Fishke, who travels through the Ukraine with a caravan of beggars.
Sholem Aleichem’s lively stories reintroduce us to Tevye, the gregarious dairyman, as he describes the pleasures of raising his independent-minded daughters. These are followed by short monologues in which Aleichem gives voice to unforgettable characters from Eastern Europe to the Lower East Side. Finally, I. L. Peretz’s neo-hasidic tales draw on hasidic traditions in the service of modern literature.
These stories provide an unsentimental look back at Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Although nostalgia occasionally colors their prose, the writers were social critics who understood the shortcomings of shtetl life. For the general reader, these translations breathe new life into the extraordinary worlds of Yiddish literature. The introduction, glossary, and biographical essays contemporaneous to each author put those worlds into context, making the book indispensable to students and scholars of Yiddish culture.
Ken Frieden holds the B. G. Rudolph Chair in Judaic Studies at Syracuse University. His previous book, Clas-
sic Yiddish Fiction: Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and Peretz, is a study of the authors anthologized in this volume. Frieden’s other work includes numerous scholarly essays as well as English editions of Sholem Aleichem’s monologues and of S. Y. Abramovitsh’s Tales of Mendele the Book Peddler.
Ted Gorelick specialized in the translation of Eastern European literature and won critical acclaim for his English renditions of S. Y. Abramovitsh’s fiction. His original translations may be found in Tales of Mendele the Book Peddler and in Sholem Aleichem’s Nineteen to the Dozen: Monologues and Bits and Bobs of Other Things (the latter published by Syracuse University Press).
Michael Wex is the author of Shlepping the Exile and of five plays. His translation of S. Y. Abramovitsh’s The Wishing-Ring was also published by Syracuse University Press.
6 x 9, 304 pages