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Der Liṭṿaḳ in Ṿolinen
דער ליטוואק אין וואלינען
[First Ed.] Isaac Meir Dick
This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
First edition. 40 pp., 163:106 mm., age and use staining. A good copy bound in modern boards.
Isaac Meir Dick (1814–1893), first popular writer of Yiddish fiction. Born in Vilna, Dick began his literary activity around 1838 with a Hebrew story "Zifronah" and a Hebrew parody "Massekhet Aniyyut" ("Tractate on Poverty," first published in Kanfei Yonah (1848)). The author of over 300 stories and short novels, Dick is known primarily for introducing into Yiddish literature the sentimental and realistic story; many of his tales were either translations or free adaptations of other works. Dick, one of the first writers before Mendele Mokher Seforim to write in Hebrew and Yiddish, used literature to popularize the ideas of the Haskalah. He was one of the first maskilim to realize that, for the average reader, information had to be coated with an interesting story line. He preached ethical conduct and good manners in stories that abounded in folklore. In 1864 he signed a contract with the Romm publishing house, agreeing to write a 48-page novelette each week. His melodramatic stories were eagerly read by men and women alike, who bought nearly 100,000 copies of his works. However, many of his pamphlets have not survived since they were literally read to shreds. Lacking literary sophistication, Dick's stories are valued today mainly for their wealth of folklore. As a typical exponent of the Haskalah ideology, Dick was in favor of such reforms in Jewish life as change of attire, modern schools, dignified synagogue services, etc., and like many other maskilim, did not refrain from turning to the Czarist authority for support. On the other hand the traditional values of Judaism were so dear to him that he devoted most of his literary efforts to their perpetuation. He popularized the knowledge of the Bible, wrote on the haggadah of Passover, composed a popular version of the Shulhan Arukh, and published many stories on Ereh Israel, including a history of Jerusalem. Dick also summarized Jewish classical, medieval, and contemporary writings for the average Yiddish reader. His selected works were published in 1954 (Geklibene Verk fun I. M. Dick, ed. by S. Niger).
M. Weinreich, Bilder fun der Yidisher Literatur Geshikhte (1928), 292–329; EJ
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Kind of Judaica