Stories by Meir Blinkin
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Now available for the first time to the English-speaking public, the captivating short stories of master storyteller Meir Blinkin are the charming prose equivalents of the film Hester Street. These delightful and touching stories also give an authentic account of the Jewish immigrant experience at the turn of the century.
This collection is introduced by the renowned Yiddish scholar, Ruth R. Wisse, professor of Yiddish literature at McGill University, and co-author, with Irving Howe, of Tales of Sholem of Aleichem. Her introduction provides bibliographical information on Meir Blinkin and places his work in the context of the development of Yiddish literature.
Born in the same small town as Sholem Aleichem, Meir Blinkin was driven by poverty and anti-semitism to America. He arrived in New York in 1904; at the age of 25—one of the 105,000 Jews to reach America that year. At his untimely death eleven years later, Blinkin was well known to his Jewish-American contemporaries as one of their finest prose writers, a leader of the yunge literary movement, and a frequent contributor to the major Yiddish periodicals.
Meir Blinkin's stories tell us what life was like in the immigrant community, conveying a strong sense of the stresses and changes to be endured. These stories not illuminate the social conditions of the times but provide deft psychological analyses of troubled immigrants, with their conflicting claims of loyalty to the secular world and Jewish orthodoxy.
Blinkin is also a master at the evocation of mood, of psychic tensions and the claustrophobia of tenement life. In the best traditions of mimetic realism, he captures the vividly demotic speech of his characters, with their Anglicisms and malapropisms.
This unique collection of stories helps preserve the vibrant immigrant world. A tribal memory man, Meir Blinkin saves us from cultural amnesia.