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Published on August 8th, 2018 | by LedgerOnline


Yiddish works of author Isaac Bashevis Singer now online

AMHERST, Massachusetts – The Yiddish Book Center has announced that the Yiddish works of author Isaac Bashevis Singer are now freely available online through the Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library. Singer’s Yiddish originals were never widely distributed and often differ significantly from their more familiar English versions, which Singer reworked for an American audience. The availability of these works was made possible by permission of the Singer Estate.

“We were thrilled when Singer’s Estate gave us the go-ahead to do this,” noted Aaron Lanksy, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center. “We’ve long hoped to be able to include the majority of Singer’s work in Yiddish as part of the Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library.”

A just-released special edition of Pakn Treger, the Center’s English-language magazine, is dedicated to Singer, Lansky said. The special issue of Pakn Treger – “Isaac Bashevis Singer: Relaunching Our Greatest Storyteller” – includes a range of features, including the discovery in Poland of printing plates that are the only remaining artifact of Singer’s earliest known work; a piece about Singer’s childhood obsession with a series of Yiddish detective novels; an interview with renowned photographer Bruce Davidson, who directed Singer in a little-known art film, Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko’s Beard, based on a short story by the writer; as well as a compendium in which contemporary writers write about their favorite Singer story.

“Singer’s wonderful novels and stories have long been available to readers all over the world in translation. But his richly idiomatic Yiddish reveals the full measure of his genius.” says David Mazower, the Center’s bibliographer and editorial director. Mazower, as co-editor of Pakn Treger, worked with the Singer Estate to bring the works online.

According to Meirav Hen, the author’s granddaughter: “My grandfather always said: ‘As long as there are people with the power to tell a story, there will always be readers….’ So the family is very happy that my grandfather’s stories will now be available to new readers all over the world in digital form.”

Singer’s Yiddish works are available to read online or download for free on the Yiddish Book Center’s website, www.yiddishbookcenter.org. Also available on the website are related articles, archival recording, oral histories with Singer’s descendants, and more; as well as information regarding subscribing to the print publication, Pakn Treger.


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