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Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Simple Gimpl”

Hosted By: YIVO

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Gimpl tam” was published on March 30, 1945, in the obscure Yiddish-language journal Idisher kempfer, about a month before the Nazi surrender. A story of bullying and the potential for revenge, it tells the deathbed confession of an orphaned baker who is targeted by his own community for ridicule and practical jokes. Gimpl has come to be seen as a symbol of the Jewish people in the diaspora, and, by synecdoche, minorities in general. Should they be passive in the face of aggression? Or should they defend themselves?

A new bilingual edition features Singer’s original Yiddish alongside his own partial translation, now completed and edited by writer and scholar David Stromberg. The book also features the 1953 Saul Bellow translation which first brought the story to fame, new illustrations by Liana Finck, and an afterword by David Stromberg. Join YIVO for a discussion with Stromberg featured in conversation with David Roskies.

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