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The Glatstein Chronicles

The Glatstein Chronicles

Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    The Glatstein Chronicles
    Book Description:

    In 1934, with World War II on the horizon, writer Jacob Glatstein (1896-1971) traveled from his home in America to his native Poland to visit his dying mother. One of the foremost Yiddish poets of the day, he used his journey as the basis for two highly autobiographical novellas (translated asThe Glatstein Chronicles) in which he intertwines childhood memories with observations of growing anti-Semitism in Europe.

    Glatstein's accounts "stretch like a tightrope across a chasm," writes preeminent Yiddish scholar Ruth Wisse in the Introduction. In Book One, "Homeward Bound," the narrator, Yash, recounts his voyage to his birthplace in Poland and the array of international travelers he meets along the way. Book Two, "Homecoming at Twilight," resumes after his mother's funeral and ends with Yash's impending return to the United States, a Jew with an American passport who recognizes the ominous history he is traversing.

    The Glatstein Chroniclesis at once insightful reportage of the year after Hitler came to power, reflection by a leading intellectual on contemporary culture and events, and the closest thing we have to a memoir by the boy from Lublin, Poland, who became one of the finest poets of the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16878-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xxiv)

    In June 1934, twenty years after he had arrived solo in New York City, Jacob Glatstein was summoned back by the family to the bedside of his dying mother in Lublin. Had he not been called for, it is unlikely that he would ever have returned to his birthplace. Glatstein at thirty-seven was then in the “middle of life’s journey”—precisely in the middle as it later turned out—married and the father of three children, employed in the editorial and news departments of the Yiddish dailyMorgn Zhurnal, and hotly involved in Yiddish literary initiatives. First and foremost a...

  4. BOOK ONE: Homeward Bound
    (pp. 1-182)

    No sooner did the ship pull away from the dock than I instantly felt myself subject to maritime law. Only then did I begin to understand that which I couldn’t quite grasp when I was a law student, the necessity for a separate body of jurisprudence pertaining to the sea. For just as the moon holds sway over the tides, or, as some would have it, over the whole human psyche, so does the ocean have an imperceptible effect upon those who would cross it. Footsteps lighten, manners soften, voices lilt. Aboard ship one suffers minor hurt rather than inflict...

  5. BOOK TWO: Homecoming at Twilight
    (pp. 183-378)

    “Even from the gutter will I sing praises to Thee, my Lord, even from the gutter.” Supper was nearly over. A number of guests had already left the dining room. Those who were lingering on at their tables picked their teeth and nursed their glasses of tea. At one of the tables every seat was still occupied. A man in a skullcap sat at the head of it. The seven or eight other men at that table were silently listening to him, occasionally dipping a spoon into their stewed fruit without looking at it, slowly sucking and rolling the prune...

  6. Notes
    (pp. 379-394)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 395-396)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 397-397)