The Schmooze

Yiddish Stories Not Lost in Translation

The Association of Jewish Libraries Guide to Yiddish Short Stories
By Bennett Muraskin
Ben Yehuda Press, 79 pages, $14.50

The title of this small but useful book might have been lengthened to include “in the English language,” but the point is taken. We are now in a veritable golden age of translation, though the “golden” is tarnished somewhat by the retreat of younger generations from reading, and the near-disappearance of the secular Yiddish writer. We are now looking back to an age when pens around the world worked furiously and productively. The Guide proves the point.

The scrupulous overview of the stories themselves, some 130 in number, cannot possibly be complete, considering how periodicals in the grand age of English-language magazines once published translated stories of all kinds. But author Bennet Muraskin covers considerable territory, and his one-sentence to one-paragraph glimpses convey what the reader needs to know. He is wonderfully painstaking in his brief recounting of publishing history, which includes references to scholarly archives. The last major section of the book provides capsule biographies of several dozen authors, and a working bibliography.

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Yiddish Stories Not Lost in Translation

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