World According to Itzik
In the years between 1929 and 1939, when Itzik Manger wrote most of the poetry and fiction that made him famous, his name among Yiddish readers was a household word. Called the Shelley of Yiddish, he was characterized as being “drunk with talent.” This book—the first full-length anthology of Manger’s work—displays the full range of his genius in poetry, fiction, and criticism.
The book begins with an extensive historical, biographical, and literary critical introduction to Manger’s work. There are then excerpts from a novel, The Book of Paradise, three short stories, autobiographical essays, critical essays, and finally, Manger’s magnificent poetry—ballads, Bible poems, personal lyrics, and the Megilla Songs. These works, which have the patina of myths acquired ages ago, also offer modern psychological insight and irrepressible humor. With Manger, we make the leap into the Jewish twentieth century, as he recreates the past in all its layered expressiveness and interprets it with modernist sensibilities.