Thursday, January 7, 2021

Salomea Perl Book Talk This Spring at YIVO

One of the pleasures of my work is discovering and sharing new Jewish art and culture. In the case of The Canvas and other stories, the new translation of Salomea Perl's Yiddish stories, it's a new-old discovery. We finally have all of Perl's exquisite Yiddish stories gathered in one place, a hundred years after their publication. And we have a brand new translation by Ruth Murphy, presented in a beautiful bilingual edition, making it perfect for those who want to work on their Yiddish reading skills with the aid of simultaneous translation.

I wrote about The Canvas in my recent column on the Jewish obsession with genealogy. Perl herself was writing at the time Sholem Aleichem created his mytho-genetic family tree of modern Yiddish literature. He named Salomea Perl's erstwhile friend and publisher, Y.L. Peretz, as the father on that tree. But Perl, who eventually fell out with Peretz for unknown reasons, received no such mythologizing. As far as we know, she only published seven Yiddish stories in her lifetime, and after her death, they fell into obscurity.

After publishing the column in which I talked about The Canvas, YIVO asked me to lead a conversation about it, and the literary life of Salomea Perl. It's going to be on May 25 and because it will be online, there's no excuse not to see it. We've put together a fantastic group of folks for the talk: Canvas translator Ruth Murphy, literary scholar Justin Cammy, and master teacher of Yiddish literature, Anna Fishman-Gonshor. See you in May!

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