WRITINGS ON YIDDISH AND YIDDISHKAYT: THE WAR YEARS, 1939-1945 is the first major effort to fill the gap between the Nobel laureate's Yiddish and English oeuvre. Knowing that a whole world, a whole way of life, a whole cultural treasure bound up with Yiddish and Yiddishkayt—that they were all going up in flames before his very eyes—was crushing for Singer, driving him to put pen to paper and write. His wartime writing—appearing in an intensely urgent tone—sought to record not only the customs but also the immediacy of the loss that was taking place at that very moment.
Literary Nonfiction. Essay. Jewish Studies.
“This collection reaches beyond Singer’s later-in-life persona as an avuncular Yiddish man of letters to reveal a complicated writer who was unafraid to display unsanitized emotion and be as provocative in his nonfiction as he was in his fiction. It’s a boon for Singer’s admirers and newcomers alike.” ––Publishers Weekly
“This spellbinding collection of essays, written with raw urgency in the Shoah's shadow, offers a new view not just of Bashevis Singer's worldly and other‐worldly tilts but of a Yiddishkeit pumping with great vitality through literary conduits.” —Benjamin Balint, author of Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder, and the Hijacking of History
Review @ Library Journal
Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish-born Jewish- American author noted for his short stories. He was one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement, receiving numerous awards and honors for his work. In 1978, Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. A prolific writer, the main theme of Singer's works is the clash between tradition and renewal-preservation versus regeneration-which serves as a backdrop to stories delving into the grip of human passions that unleash the destructive, yet also constructive, force of the emotions. Singer's profound talent allowed him to manage these weighty topics with a light, often comedic, touch.