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Bidding Information
Lot #    20508
Auction End Date    4/1/2008 1:07:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    A nar fun bod aroys
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    [First Ed.] Nahum Meyer Shaikevich
City    Vilna
Publication Date    (1912)
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition? 31, [1] pp., 177:125 mm., age staining, A good copy not bound. Title states 1890 while verso states 1912.
   Nahum Meyer Shaikevich (18491905), Yiddish novelist and dramatist. Born in Nesvizh, Russia, Shomer settled in Pinsk. He began his literary career in the 1870s with Hebrew translations from the German in the periodical Ha-Meliz. Under the influence of Abraham Mapu and Kalman Schulmann he wrote many Hebrew short stories and longer narratives and about 200 Hebrew lyrics, which he later incorporated into his Yiddish tales. When he moved to Vilna, he was advised to write in Yiddish and soon became known for his popular novels of suspense, with which he achieved a mass appeal hitherto unprecedented in Yiddish letters. After becoming acquainted with the theater, which Abraham Goldfaden had just introduced to Bucharest audiences, he began to write plays for the Yiddish stage, organizing his own theatrical troupe in Odessa. When Yiddish performances were forbidden in Russia, he returned to Vilna and concentrated his productive efforts on fiction, making use of borrowed plots, whenever necessary, in order to meet the insatiable demand of his ever increasing reading public. Other novelists soon imitated his style of writing. The creators of the new classical Yiddish literature, led by Shalom Aleichem, began a struggle against Shomer and what became known as "Shomerism," which reached a climax in Shalom Aleichem's satiric pamphlet Shomers Mishpet ("Judgment on Shomer," 1888), in which he wrote devastatingly of Shomer's school of potboiler fiction.

In 1889 Shomer was persuaded to go to the U.S. where his plays were being successfully performed. Here, too, he achieved enormous popularity, producing novels for newspapers and plays at a phenomenal pace. He also edited several magazines and festival publications, filling them largely with his own novels, short stories, and journalistic material. Through his works Shomer led the Yiddish-reading masses into the magic world of fantastic events and exciting developments where good always triumphed over evil. He was convinced that his books performed the valuable function of bringing ethical education to the Jewish masses whose general education had been neglected. Indeed, Soviet critics later emphasized the educational service performed by Shomer's narratives in the struggle to improve the lot of the Jewish victims of poverty and oppression. Of his more than 100 novels and plays, at least a dozen have retained their popularity and have been repeatedly reprinted. Among his works are Di Ungliklikhe Libe (1882); Der Oytzer oder der Kalter Gazlen (1884); Eyn Ungerikhter Glik (1885); Der Yid un di Grefin (1892).

   S. Niger, Dertseyler un Romanistn (1946), 8495; R. Shomer-Bachelis, Unzer Foter Shomer (1950), incl. bibl.; Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater, 3 (1959), 2077104; EJ
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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Other:    Literature
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Yiddish
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica