||Yiddish story by the famed novelist and play-wright, Leon Kobrin. Yankel Boyle depicts the life of Jewish fisherman in Russia. It represents a new approach in this type of literature, in both subject and style, being more realistic, even naturalistic, for which Kobrin received much praise. This, his first important long story, describes a Russian Jewish fisherman’s tragic love affair with a Christian girl. In 1913 his dramatization of this story was successfully performed in America and Europe, and was revived in New York in 1963. At the end of the volume is page of advertisements, for such firms as Rivington Pharmacy, Jules Hammer, Prop., Rabinowitz & Enteen, “Wurst,” Delicatessen and Lunch Room, and others.
Leon Kobrin (1872–1946) was in Vitebsk, Russia. He initially wrote in Russian, and when he came to New York in 1892, first supported himself as a shirtmaker, cigarmaker, and baker, but finding that physical labor was not to his liking he underwent a period of privation. In New York he was surprised to hear that there was such a thing as literature in Yiddish or“jargon,” as it was contemptuously called in Russia. He began contributing to the socialist publications in the vernacular, shelving his squeamishness and wielding his pen from right to left as best he could. In 1894 he published his first story, A Moerder aus Liebe, translated from the Russian and appearing in the Arbeiter-Tzeitung. It attracted universal attention, and Kobrin became a Yiddish writer. His realistic stories and plays give a faithful picture of Jewish life in America during the immigration period. His depictions of life in the slums, work in the sweatshops, and the awakening of love in these surroundings were influenced by Russian literature. Kobrin wrote about 30 plays, some of which were published and most of which were staged. They deal with Jewish life in the U.S., and discuss the problems of nationalism, assimilation, and the relations between parents and children. Love plays an important part in the plays, which have a strong erotic streak. Kobrin also translated and adapted works for the Yiddish stage. He was the subject of a long obituary in the NY Times (April 1, 1946) upon his death.