||A reply to attacks made against him by Zederbaum in Ha-Meliz.
Mordecai Spector (1858–1925), Yiddish novelist and editor. Born in Uman, Ukraine, of a hasidic family, he came under the influence of Haskalah literature and began to write realistic sketches based on his personal experiences and observations of ordinary people in workshops and marketplaces. A. Zederbaum, editor of the St. Petersburg Yidishes Folksblat, published Spector's first novel in weekly instalments under the title Roman On a Nomen (1883). Spector later became assistant editor of this paper. His second novel, Der Yidisher Muzhik (1884), aroused great interest since it advocated the return of the Jew to productive labor on their ancestral soil, a doctrine then propagated by the Hovevei Zion. Spector also influenced Shalom Aleichem to set his literary sights on the provinces and on shtetl life, then a neglected area in Yiddish literature. In 1887, he settled in Warsaw, where, during the following decade, he reached the height of his fame, writing feuilletons, travel sketches, short stories, novels, and editing a series of anthologies, Der Hoyzfraynd, a landmark in the development of modern Yiddish literature. In 1894, together with I. L. Peretz and D. Pinski, he launched the Yontev Bletlekh, another literary landmark. Other literary ventures followed during the ensuing two decades. After the Communist Revolution, he experienced hardships in Odessa. He escaped in 1920, and arrived in the U.S.A. in 1921. Living in New York, he completed a volume of memoirs, Mayn Lebn (1927), which has great literary, historical, and cultural value.
Spector was a writer for the masses, whom he tried to entertain, educate, and uplift. Though neither an original thinker nor a subtle psychologist, he was an excellent observer of reality, faithfully reproducing the colloquial speech of Jewish men and women in their homes, shops, and alleys. He was a pioneer of Yiddish folklore and of Yiddish writing for children, and was one of the first Yiddish writers to take a positive attitude toward Hasidism. His collected works appeared in 10 volumes (1927–29). His stories have been translated into eight languages, including English (cf. I. Howe and E. Greenberg, ed. A Treasury of Yiddish Stories (1953), 250–5).