AMHERST, Mass.–The Yiddish Book Center has announced that it has made Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yiddish works free and available online through the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library.
The Yiddish originals were never widely distributed and often differ significantly from their more familiar English versions, which Singer reworked for an American audience. The availability of these works was made possible by permission of the Singer Estate.
Commenting on the announcement, Aaron Lanksy, founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center, noted, “We were thrilled when Singer’s Estate gave us the go-ahead to do this. We’ve long hoped to be able to include the majority of Singer’s work in Yiddish as part of the Center’s Steven Spielberg Digital Yiddish Library.” Lansky noted that, a just-released special edition of Pakn Treger, the Center’s English-language magazine, is dedicated to Singer. “The release of these Yiddish originals presents a perfect opportunity for a reassessment of Singer and his work, he said.”
The issue of Pakn Treger—“Isaac Bashevis Singer: Relaunching Our Greatest Storyteller”—includes articles about the discovery in Poland of printing plates that are the only remaining artifact of Singer’s earliest known work; a piece about Singer’s childhood obsession with a series of Yiddish detective novels; an interview with photographer Bruce Davidson, who directed Singer in a little-known art film, “Isaac Singer’s Nightmare and Mrs. Pupko’s Beard,” based on a short story by the writer, who also stars in the film; as well as a compendium in which contemporary writers write about their favorite Singer story.
According to Meirav Hen, the author’s granddaughter: “My grandfather always said: ‘As long as there are people with the power to tell a story, there will always be readers….’ So the family is very happy that my grandfather’s stories will now be available to new readers all over the world in digital form.”
Pakn Treger, a print-publication, is available by subscription to Yiddish Book Center members.