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Bidding Information
Lot #    12710
Auction End Date    12/20/2005 12:59:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Pundeka Retivta
Title (Hebrew)    פונדקא רטיבתא
Author    [Illustrated] Joseph Opatoshu
City    Chicago
Publisher    L. M. Stein
Publication Date    1933
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. 24 pp., 185:145 mm., wide margins, usual age staining. A very good copy bound in the original marbled paper boards, rubbed. Limited edition of 200.
   Illustrated bibliophile edition of a story by the noted Yiddish writer Joseph Opatoshu. In 1933 Opatoshu published a collection of joyous his Falstaffian narrative stories entitled A Tog in Regensburg. Pundeka Retivta appears to be one of the stories (the full book was not seen), here issued independently with full page black and white sketches on heavy paper. The illustrations are of an inn on the title page, a man leading camels, a crowd in an inn watching a woman dancing, and a women with an elderly man. The text is in Yiddish.

Joseph Opatoshu, (formerly Joseph Meyer Opatovsky; 1886–1954) was a Yiddish novelist and short-story writer. Born near the Polish town of Mlave, Opatoshu went to the U.S. in 1907, where he studied engineering at Cooper Union at night, and supported himself by working in a shoe factory, selling newspapers, and teaching in Hebrew schools. In 1914 he graduated as a civil engineer, but soon found literature a more congenial profession. From 1910 he contributed stories to periodicals and anthologies, and in 1914 edited an anthology of his own, Di Naye Heym ("The New Home"), which included his story of American Jewish life, "Fun New Yorker Geto." When the New York Yiddish daily Der Tog was founded (1914), he joined its staff and for 40 years contributed stories, sketches, and serials, most of which were later reprinted in book form.

Opatoshu's early work was naturalistic, depicting scenes from contemporary life. Thus his A Roman fun a Ferd Ganev ("A Story of a Horse Thief," 1912), his first novel to attract wide attention, was based on his boyhood acquaintance with an unusual Jewish thief who made a living by smuggling horses across the border from Poland to Germany and who was killed while defending fellow Jews against their hostile neighbors. Opatoshu expressed his reaction to romanticism by creating thieves, smugglers, and drunkards who were a distinct contrast to the figures in the writings of Shalom Aleichem or Peretz. Opatoshu was one of the first Yiddish writers to depict American Jewish experience in his works. After reading some of his American stories, Shalom Aleichem encouraged Opatoshu to continue writing about Jews in the New World. Opatoshu heeded this suggestion and gave literary expression to the conflicts created by the Americanization of the Jewish immigrant in such works as Hebrew (or Farloyrene Mentshn; 1919), a naturalistic novel that deals with the problems of Jewish education in New York; Di Tentserin (1929) portrays declining Hasidism in New York; Arum Grand Street (1929) focuses on the immigrant Jews in the Lower East Side; and Rase (1923), a short-story collection that portrayed the conflict between varying ethnic and religious groups. In his novel In Poylishe Velder (1921; In Polish Woods, 1938, the first volume of a trilogy), Opatoshu described the decay of the hasidic court of Kotzk during the post-Napoleonic generation and presented a rich panorama of Polish-Jewish interrelations up to the Revolt of 1863. Often reprinted and translated into eight languages, it established Opatoshu's fame internationally, though its sequel, 1863, made less of an impact; the last volume of the trilogy, Aleyn ("Alone") was the first to be published (1919). Fascinated by the Jewish past, he sought to revivify segments of it in historical novels. In his Falstaffian narrative, A Tog in Regensburg, as well as in Elye Bokher (dealing with the author of the Yiddish romance, the Bove Buch), both published in 1933, Opatoshu portrays the vanished world of 16th-century Jewish patricians and Yiddish minstrels in a stylized language that utilized older layers of Yiddish. In his final historical epic, Der Letster Oyfshtand (2 vols. 1948–52; The Last Revolt, 1952), Opatoshu attempted an imaginative reconstruction of daily life in second-century Judea, when the last desperate revolt of the Jews against Roman rule flared up and was crushed.

   EJ; Liptzin Yiddish Literature pp. 166-72.
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Other:    Literature
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Yiddish
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica