God, Man, and Devil: Yiddish Plays in Translation

God, Man, and Devil: Yiddish Plays in Translation, Syracuse University Press, 1999, hard cover and paperback.

Five plays, translated and edited, with notes for performers and directors:

  • God, Man, and Devil by Jacob Gordin (1900), a dark, intelligent, thrills-and-chills melodrama, one of the most famous plays in the Yiddish canon.
  • Green Fields by Peretz Hirschbein (1916), a pastoral romance with a happy ending.
  • The Treasure by David Pinsky (1905), a black comedy of greed and romance, set in an Eastern European cemetery.
  • Shop by H. Leivick (1926), a poet’s realistic slice of life, showing a Lower East Side sweat shop before, during, and after a strike.
  • Bronx Express by Osip Dymow (1926), a cheerful satirical fantasy in jazzy 1920s political idiom.

Also two scenes adapted for stand-alone performance:

  • from Messiah in America by Moyshe Nadir (1919), a darkly comic Broadway entertainment about a con-man.
  • from Yankl the Blacksmith by David Pinski, (1906), a scene of village seduction.

The plays are introduced by “Yiddish Drama in the Yiddish World,” a 30 page overview of Yiddish dramatic repertory.

Eminently readable, genuinely dramatic.  editorial work…detailed, exhaustive…transliterations and rules of pronunciation…helpful and enlightening hints…Especially useful is the sizable overall introduction “Yiddish Drama in the Yiddish World,” which starts off with a brief survey of the development of the Yiddish language and the history of Yiddish culture and theater.
-World Literature Today

Stageworthy  meticulousness, honesty, clarity and flexibility. … explains terminology… guide to pronouncing characters’ names…production histories…  Helpful overview of the Yiddish theatre.   God, Man and Devil is likely to do for the translation of Yiddish drama what Vagabond Stars did for the study of the Yiddish theatre: provide an introduction for a much broader audience – in this case, in both the auditorium and the study.
-Journal of Jewish Studies

[M]asterful…Nahma Sandrow’s new book, with its translations and its magnificent Introduction, is invaluable.
-MELUS  Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States

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