Still on Bashevis. This is one of his most well-known novels, The Family Moskat
The Yiddish edition, whose final chapter the English omits
A total of 90 pages were cut from the English translation.
The original was written between 1945-1948, so it’s sort of like the Jewish equivalent of the Washington Cantos or Heliopolis or Glossarium or Anmerkungen. I know that Jesse is familiar with ALL of these.
This is from the study I first learned of Yarma and Keyla through
The Family Moskat appeared in 1950 in English garb, with pages and paragraphs trimmed and, more significantly, with its tonality and message altered.
In this chronicle novel he depicts Polish Jewry between 1900-1938, the rise and fall of a clan across three generations.
This is pretty awesome, isn’t it, my “bespectacled fascist” readers?
(People fluctuate between calling him Bashevis and Singer.)
Anyway, so now you’re probably really wondering about those omitted 90 pages, and the “altered message” in the English.
Reminiscent of the Gaon of Vilna
When I see something like this I feel less antisemitic. They redeem themselves when they take some of the responsibility.
It makes me laugh to think that the swine Harold Bloom scathingly reviewed a book of Bashevis’s that was themed around the spiritual emptiness of America and the embracing of Orthodox Judaism as a response. Ooooh Bloom was right out of that fallen Eastern European world wasn’t he (he spoke Yiddish as a child in NYC).
If you stop and reflect you might notice that Bashevis is a pretty unheard-of writer. This might not be a coincidence. The Nose Press has a gift for sniffing out an “excess of independence”.
This seems accurate
Whereas the scholar of, say, Proust or Thomas Mann or Faulkner has an all-but-impassible mountain of critical writings to wend his or her way through, the scholar of Yiddish literature faces, as a rule, a critical tabula rasa.
There’s an 800 year tradition of literature in Yiddish.
Bashevis is only the latest expression from this vast, forgotten world.
They say this novel has its autobiographical qualities (Bashevis was no saint)
You brats are never going to talk about the “superstructure” anyway so I don’t know why I bother. I like to think that some people live a double-life and are able to hide their secret studies so perfectly that I wouldn’t be able to tell from their public persona. If you remember Leary’s circuits of consciousness (what is this now, Summer of Hate, volume 4, I lose track) I regularly muse on materials that could be classified as eighth-circuit. So if you’re not living a double-life you’re really missing out.
If you’re here you live a double-life whether you like it or not. HAHAHAHA!