Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Slave is a picaresque novel: Jacob is constantly on a journey, moving from one village to another. The author exploits Jacob's...

(The entire section is 473 words.)

Ideas for Group Discussions

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Group discussions should include two integral topics: anti-Semitism and fate versus free will. Religion and religious persecution play major...

(The entire section is 541 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

A major social concern in The Slave is the precarious life that Jews led in seventeenth-century Poland. The Jews periodically endure...

(The entire section is 932 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Biletzky, Israel Ch. God, Jew, Satan in the Works of Isaac Bashevis Singer. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995. This critical work examines Singer’s novels in light of his major themes, including the oppositions between reality and unreality, belief and doubt, past and present, and order and chaos.

Farrell, Grace, ed. Critical Essays on Isaac Bashevis Singer. New York: G. K. Hall, 1996. This collection of critical essays from a variety of prominent scholars presents wide-ranging views on Singer’s work. The essays focus on specific novels as well as general themes that run throughout the body of Singer’s work, including his treatment of religious belief, his portrayal of women, and his views on male homosexuality. Includes a helpful bibliography and index.

Hadda, Janet. Isaac Bashevis Singer: A Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Hadda takes a detailed look at the cultural and familial influences that shaped Singer’s life and work. Written from a psychoanalytic perspective, this portrait examines the impact his parents and siblings had on him, and candidly describes his flaws as well as his charm.

Telushkin, Dvorah. Master of Dreams: A Memoir of Isaac Bashevis Singer. New York: Morrow, 1997. A poignant view of Singer’s life and work. Drawing from her own diaries tracing both the literary and personal association she shared with Singer, Telushkin’s memoir reveals a troubled but brilliant man who is fighting against the physical breakdown that comes with old age. Offers an illuminating perspective on the background of some of Singer’s most popular works.

Zamir, Israel. Journey to My Father: Isaac Bashevis Singer. New York: Arcade, 1995. Although this book is a memoir and does not offer any critical understanding of Singer’s novels, it addresses Singer’s belief in ghosts and demons, his curiosity, and love of the Yiddish language, all of which figure prominently in Singer’s work.

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

An important literary antecedent is the Bible. Jacob's decision to steal clandestinely his own child may symbolize Jacob's theft of the...

(The entire section is 224 words.)

Related Titles

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Jacob resembles Ben Dosa in Singer's King of the Fields (1988; see separate entry); both men are Jews living in a gentile and...

(The entire section is 369 words.)