Cover image for The I.L. Peretz reader
The I.L. Peretz reader
Peretz, Isaac Leib, 1851 or 1852-1915.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. English. 1990
Publication Information:
New York : Schocken Books : Distributed by Pantheon Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
xxx, 381 pages ; 24 cm.
General Note:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PJ5129.P4 A28 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Issac Leybush Peretz (1852-1915) was a Polish Jew considered to be "the most important figure in the development of modern Jewish culture." Wisse's fine introduction provides biographical detail as well as an analysis of the ideas and philosophies behind Peretz's work. Peretz felt that Jews should evolve with the times and integrate with society, while also preserving their cultural heritage. Outspoken in his beliefs, Peretz served time in prison and dedicated his life to writing and supporting Yiddish literature. This collection includes an early narrative poem, a travelogue about conditions of Jews living in small Polish towns, his memoirs, and 26 of his stories, for which he is remembered. They retell Jewish fables, dramatize Jewish values, and explore the conflict between desire and responsibility. This second volume in the Library of Yiddish Classics belongs in international literature collections. Notes; glossary. ~--Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

This second volume in the Library of Yiddish Classics series includes 26 familiar stories by the master storyteller and social critic (1852-1915); most of them benefit from new translations. Peretz was a giant of Yiddish literature who advocated a radical shift from religious observance (especially the mysticism of Hasidism) to the rationalism of scientific progress and secular Jewish culture. But he could not escape his roots entirely; in his writings as in his life, he shows affection for his co-religionists. In ``If Not Higher,'' a skeptic comes to believe that a humble Hasidic rebbe is worthy of sainthood. In ``Venus and Shulamith'' Peretz extols the virtuous maiden of the Song of Songs over the licentious Venus of Greek mythology, demonstrating his mastery of both biblical texts and classical literature. Two major entries--``My Memoirs'' and the vignettes titled ``Impressions of a Journey''--are here in their first unabridged English translation. The former is a vivid portrait of growing up orthodox in mid-19th century Poland. Each vignette in ``Journey'' is a story in itself: Peretz depicts grinding poverty side by side with belief in miracles, and demonstrates a stoic acceptance of life's realities. His works stand in brilliantly evocative tribute to a bygone era. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This, the second volume in the ``Library of Yiddish Classics'' series, presents selections from the writing of Peretz (1852-1915), who was perhaps the greatest and most influential writer in modern Yiddish literature. Included are many of his best short stories like ``Bontsche the Silent,'' his famous poem ``Monish,'' some travel sketches, and his memoirs. The translations are quite good, and professor/critic Wisse's penetrating introduction is a gem. Highly recommended for all literature collections.-- Robert A. Silver, Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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