Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Fourteen of the nineteen stories in A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw appeared earlier in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first, much longer autobiographical work, In My Father’s Court (1966). For this book, these stories have been modified somewhat for younger readers. The five remaining stories, which complement them, are collected here for the first time. All nineteen were written in Singer’s native tongue, Yiddish, and then translated by others into English.

Fifteen of the stories take place in Warsaw, where Singer’s parents moved with him, his sister, and two brothers in 1908, when Singer was three years old. In the first story, “Who I Am,” Singer introduces the contents of those that follow by sketching his inner development and the influences on it, from his earliest years until he reached the age of thirteen. He also briefly describes his family, the circumstances in which they lived, and the historical currents and events that formed the background of his boyhood years. The last story, “Shosha,” is also set in Singer’s childhood, but its conclusion takes place twenty-five years later, when the author returns to Krochmalna Street, where he had grown up. In search of his past, he discovers that his former playmate Shosha has a daughter of her own, from whom he now hears tales that stem from her mother’s friendship with him.

Several of the stories framed by these two describe events in...

(The entire section is 467 words.)