Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

In Polish Woods by Joseph Opaloshu - translated from the Yiddish by Issac Goldberg- 1938

In Polish Woods by JOSEPH OPATOSHU -1938- translated from the Yiddish by Issac Goldberg 

In Polish Woods is a historical novel set largely in Jewish society in Poland describing the breakdown  of the Kotzker dynasty between the age of Napoleon and the Polish Revolt of 1863.  There is a great deal of debates about different elements in Jewish society in the period.  There are interesting accounts of ancient Polish beliefs about wood spirits.  There is a forbidden romance and a very lengthy section devoted to youthful instruction of Torah Scholars.  

My assessment is that In Polish Woods is best left to those who have been reading Yiddish literature for years and those into the heritage of Polish Jews.

I found completing a bit of a chore but having done so for me it was worthwhile.

This is not a “starter” Yiddish work.  I do not issue even a mild general recommendation on this book 

“OPATOSHU, JOSEPH (originally Opatovsky; 1886–1954), Yiddish novelist and short-story writer. Born near Mlave (Poland), Opatoshu immigrated to the U.S. in 1907, where he studied engineering at Cooper Union at night, while supporting himself by working in a shoe factory, selling newspapers, and teaching in Hebrew schools. In 1914 he graduated as a civil engineer, but soon found literature a more congenial profession. From 1910 he contributed stories to periodicals and anthologies, and in 1914 edited an anthology of his own, Di Naye Heym ("The New Home"), which included his story of American Jewish life, "Fun Nyu Yorker Geto." 

When the New York daily Der Tog was founded (1914), he joined its staff and for 40 years contributed stories, sketches, and serials, most of which were later reprinted in book format.



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