Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

In My Father’s Court is the first of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s three volumes of memoirs, published over a span of nearly two decades. Taken together they comprise a record not only of the surface facts of Singer’s life, from his formative years in Poland through his period of adjustment to a new life in the United States during the mid-1930’s, but of his inner life as well. Although Singer includes bits of family history, such as the marriage of his parents, which predate his own birth, the bulk of In My Father’s Court chronicles his boyhood and early adolescence, culminating in his first stirrings of sexual desire at the age of fifteen. While much of A Young Man in Search of Love (1978) is concerned with its author’s many sexual adventures, Singer also tells about the early strivings for artistic expression that led to his first novel, Sotan in Goray (1935; Satan in Goray, 1955). This second volume of memoirs ends with Singer’s decision to emigrate to the United States in 1955. Lost in America (1980) takes up the story immediately after his arrival and recounts the loneliness, alienation, poverty, and writer’s block of his first years in the United States, years of nearly suicidal despair that constituted the darkest period of Singer’s life.

As is his custom in most of his fiction and nonfiction, Singer prefaces In My Father’s Court with a note in which he speaks of the...

(The entire section is 592 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Alexander, Edward. Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1980.

Allentuck, Marcia, ed. The Achievement of Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1969.

Buchen, Irving H. Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Eternal Past, 1968.

Friedman, Lawrence S. Understanding Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1988.

Kresh, Paul. Isaac Bashevis Singer: The Magician of West 86th Street, 1979.

Malin, Irving. Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1972.

Malin, Irving, ed. Critical Views of Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1969.

Sinclair, Clive. The Brothers Singer, 1983.