Yiddish Literature Criticism: Major Authors - Essay

Charles A. Madison (essay date 1968)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Madison, Charles A. “Isaak Laybush Peretz: The Father of Modern Yiddish Literature.” In Yiddish Literature: Its Scope and Major Writers, pp. 99-133. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1968.

[In the following essay, Madison focuses on Peretz's major works, also discussing the themes Peretz explored in his stories and poems.]

There are evidences that Peretz's family was one of the Sephardic group of Spanish Jews who settled in Poland not long after their expulsion in 1492. His immediate ancestors were anti-Hasidic, and a number of them were scholars and businessmen of high repute. Although his parents were not as wealthy as their predecessors, they...

(The entire section is 12375 words.)

Charles A. Madison (essay date 1968)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Madison, Charles A. “Yiddish in Israel.” In Yiddish Literature: Its Scope and Major Writers, pp. 500-21. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1968.

[In the following essay, Madison provides an overview of Yiddish writers and poets from Israel.]

Yiddish was the speech of East European Jews from the time of their settlement there in the late Middle Ages, and was developed by them into a modern literary language during the second half of the 19th century. The pogroms and activated anti-Semitism of the early 1880's started an exodus of these Jews to nearly every part of the inhabited earth. For years it was a mere trickle, with most migrants going to the...

(The entire section is 7843 words.)

Norma Fain Pratt (essay date 1994)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pratt, Norma Fain. “Culture and Radical Politics: Yiddish Women Writers in America, 1890-1940.” In Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing, edited by Judith R. Baskin, pp. 111-35. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.

[In the following essay, Pratt presents a brief history of Jewish and Yiddish female writers whose works appeared in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century, noting that their writing is reflective of the social issues they were confronting.]

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the cultural traditions East European Jewish immigrants brought with them to America were fundamentally...

(The entire section is 7445 words.)

David G. Roskies (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Roskies, David G. “The Demon as Storyteller: Isaac Bashevis Singer.” A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling, pp. 266-306. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Roskies analyses Singer's work in the context of his Yiddish background, focusing particularly on his use of the image of the devil in his writing.]

If Hell exists, everything exists. If you are real,
He is real.

—I. B. Singer, 1943

Nothing is more Jewish than a Jewish demon. What the golden-haired Lorelei are to the Rhine, the dark-haired sheydim are to the Jewish home, creeping out from behind the stove on a...

(The entire section is 19098 words.)