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Sholem Aleichem Rediscovered: The Newly Translated Moshkeleh Ganev

Hosted By: YIVO

Sholem Aleichem’s Moshkeleh Ganev was a first for Yiddish literature in featuring as its hero a rowdy, uneducated horse thief. The novel is unique for its focus on the underclass and portrayal of Jews interacting with non-Jews in the Russian Pale of Settlement. Breaking norms, it centers on characters on the fringe of respectability.

Originally written in 1903 and published three times in Poland and in the Soviet Union in the first half of the 20th century, the novel was for some unknown reason not included in Sholem Aleichem’s collected works. Upon encountering the forgotten novel a few years ago, the lauded Sholem Aleichem translator Curt Leviant has brought the text into the light with its first translation into English.

Join Curt Leviant, in conversation with Dvora Reich, about Sholem Aleichem and this newly re-discovered novel.

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Curt Leviant

Besides Moshkeleh the Thief, Curt Leviant has translated five other collections of Sholom Aleichem’s works. Among his fifteen volumes of translations from the Yiddish are novels by Chaim Grade, a memoir by Isaac Bashevis Singer, and collections of stories by Avraham Reisen and Lamed Shapiro. Some of Leviant’s 12 novels have been published in nine European languages, in Israel, and in South America. His novel, Diary of an Adulterous Woman, was an international best seller and was cited in France in 2008 as one of the “Seven Best Novels of the Year”. His most recent novels are the critically acclaimed King of Yiddish and Kafka’s Son. Critics have hailed the French translation of Kafka’s Son and called Leviant “a worthy heir to Kafka.” A Turkish version appeared in 2020.
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The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is dedicated to the preservation and study of the history and culture of Eastern European Jewry and Yiddish language.
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