Yid­dish Lit­er­a­ture in Amer­i­ca: 1870 – 2000

Emanuel S. Gold­smith; Bar­nett Zumoff, trans.
  • Review
By – September 7, 2011

This is an Eng­lish-lan­guage abridge­ment of the orig­i­nal two-vol­ume anthol­o­gy of Yid­dish lit­er­a­ture pub­lished by the Con­gress for Jew­ish Cul­ture in 1999 and 2002

It includes poet­ry, short sto­ries, and essays from a vari­ety of the best Yid­dish writ­ers of the last cen­tu­ry, from Edelsh­tat and Tsun­z­er to Korn and Singer. Each author is intro­duced with a few sen­tences, fol­lowed by selec­tions from their work. While the book seems designed to intro­duce non-Yid­dish speak­ing read­ers to many of the themes of Yid­dish lit­er­a­ture — per­se­cu­tion, pogroms, immi­gra­tion, assim­i­la­tion, spir­i­tu­al­i­ty— the uneven­ness of the trans­la­tions does a dis­ser­vice to some writ­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly the poets.

Bet­ti­na Berch, author of the recent biog­ra­phy, From Hes­ter Street to Hol­ly­wood: The Life and Work of Anzia Yezier­s­ka, teach­es part-time at the Bor­ough of Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty College.

Discussion Questions