Page 115 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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95
A b r a m o w i c z —
YIVO
L i b r a r y
1909), also edited by Peretz. The latter item was rare already in
1915; B. Borokhov who compiled the first Peretz bibliography12
had not seen it. The first issue featured an editorial entitled
“Hebrew and Yiddish,” in which the editor maintained that both
languages are needed since each fulfills a different but essential
function in Jewish life. This article was clearly connected with
the 1908 Czernowitz conference on the status of Yiddish in which
Peretz took such an active part. The YIVO collections include
both scholarship in the field of Yiddish to which the conference
gave stimulus, as well as the rich literature on the social problem
of two co-existing Jewish languages and the broader problem of
bi- and multi-lingualism among Jews.
Parallel with literature created by masters and meant for the
intellectual and social elite, there developed in the 19th and
early 20th century a popular literature meant for the less edu-
cated and less sophisticated masses. These writings had a flavor
of their own, reflecting the social conditions, values and interests
of the milieu for which they were created. The prose genre in this
field consisted of novelettes, miracle stories, descriptions of sensa-
tional contemporary events, handbooks on health and hygiene,
manuals for letter writing, and the like. Authors who were in the
category of this literature “for the people and by the people”
reached such a degree of popularity and sophistication that they
were “admitted” to literary history. Here belong A.M. Dik (in-
cidentally, the first to adapt
Uncle T om ’s Cabin
for the Yiddish
reader13) and N.M. Shomer (Shaykevitsh). These two prolific
writers and many other lesser known figures are represented by
numerous works in the YIVO library.
The Yiddish Theater and Badkhones and Folklore
Individual writers, as well as literary groups and their organs,
great personalities, as well as followers and epigones, professional
writers and memoirists—all are exhaustively covered in the YIVO
library in its endeavor to achieve the highest possible degree of
completeness in the field of Yiddish letters. The same applies to
the Yiddish drama, the basis of the Yiddish theater. The drama
collection in the YIVO includes recognized authors, as well as
obscure and even anonymous playwrights producing for immedi-
ate theater consumption. The collection of these plays, together
with theatrical periodicals, programs, songs and recitations from
13
L i tera tu r un L ebn ,
v. 3, no. 5 (1915).
18
D i shklaveray,
Vilna, 1887. For a list of A. M. Dik's writings, indicating
location, compare: I. Rivkind, “An Annotated Bibliography of A. M. Dik,”
Yivo B le ter ,
v. 36 (1952), p. 191 ft.