Between 1870 and 2000, the years covered by the present volume, Yiddish literature blossomed from its modest beginnings into a world literature that is the qualitative equal of any of the world’s great literatures. Poetry and prose poured out of dozens of great authors in a way rarely seen in previous literary history. Largely unknown to many readers, a large proportion, perhaps the majority of this Yiddish literature, was written in America rather than Europe. A proper, comprehensive anthology of the American Yiddish literature did not exist until Emanuel S. Goldsmith published, in 1999, his monumental two-volume, 1300-page anthology in the original Yiddish. The current English translation by Barnett Zumoff presents about one-fourth of this material so that the reader who does not know Yiddish can have the pleasure of sampling this great literature. Selections from great authors such as Sholem Aleichem, Moris Rozenfeld, Dovid Edelshtat, Avrom Reyzn, Sholem Ash, Yehoyesh, Ana Margolin, Tsilye Drapkin, Mani Leyb, Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, Kadye Molodovsky, Rokhl Korn, H. Leyvik, Yankev Glatshteyn, Itsik Manger, Reyzl Zhikhlinsky, and Yitskhok Bashevis Zinger (Isaac Bashevis Singer) will delight the reader, and will hopefully stimulate him or her to delve further into the world of Yiddish literature.
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