Isaac Bashevis Singer
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Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991) was Jewish-American writer of fiction and one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement. The son and grandson of Polish rabbis, Singer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.
According to the American Library Association, some of Singer's most famous works include:
- Satan in Goray
- Enemies, A Love Story
- The Magician of Lublin
Singer's Early Life
Singer was born in Poland, growing up in the poor, Yiddish-speaking section of Warsaw. After attempting to become a rabbi, Singer immigrated to the United States in 1935, largely due to the growing Nazi threat in Germany.
Settling in New York, Singer began his writing career, as a journalist for a Yiddish language journal, The Forward. His first novel, Satan in Goray, was published in installments in the magazine Globus, which he cofounded with poet Aaron Zeitlin. The novel details the massacre of Polish Jews by Cossacks in 1648.
Singer's Reputation and Literary Works
Singer’s literary reputation grew throughout the 1940s, pushed along by his novel The Family Moskat. Many of his short stories were considered shocking by readers at the time, as he dealt with controversial themes including lesbianism, transvestites and rabbis corrupted by demons.
Of his 18 novels and a numerous other works, Singer always wrote in Yiddish, editing them into English for larger publication. One of his most famous novels is Enemies, A Love Story, later made into a popular film. His short story “Yentl” also became a movie, starring Barbra Streisand in the title role.