Harriet Beecher Stowe. Di shḳlaṿeray, oder, Di laybegenshafṭ (Podansṭṿo) [”Uncle Tom’s Cabin”]

AUCTION 61 | Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Graphic Art and Ceremonial Objects

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Lot 29

Harriet Beecher Stowe. Di shḳlaṿeray, oder, Di laybegenshafṭ (Podansṭṿo) [”Uncle Tom’s Cabin”]

<<FIRST EDITION IN YIDDISH.>> Translated by Isaac Meir Dick. Two volumes. The George Alexander Kohut copy, with his notes on front pastedown. pp. 88; (3), 92-184. Browned. Contemporary marbled boards, detached. 12mo.

Vilna: Romm 1868

Est: $2,000 - $2,500
<<Yiddish version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Very Rare. No copies in the United States.>> In her article “Uncle Tom’s Cabin Judaized: I. M. Dick’s Yiddish Adaptation of Mrs. Stowe’s Masterpiece,” in: New Era Magazine Vol. 6, December 1904 (New York) pp. 147-51, Bertha Wiernik writes: “In order to overcome the lack of sympathy that exists between Jew and Gentile, the Yiddish writer has often found it necessary to take more liberties than those which belong to a translator and to adapt the chosen books to the taste and prejudices of his readers. The favorite method has been to change the Gentile characters of stories into Jews and wherever possible to convert the dramatis personae of fiction to Judaism”(p. 147). The author cites the Yiddish translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Isaac Myer Dick, “who until his death in 1893 was one of the most prolific and popular of Yiddish novelists,” as an example. She goes on to explain how “Mr. Dick has calmly Judaized the leading characters of Mrs. Stowe’s famous story leaving a few Christians to serve mainly as foils to Jewish virtues”(p. 147). “In the conclusion of the book, Mr. Dick took matters entirely into his own hands - he made it up out of whole cloth”(p. 151). Dick ends the book saying that almost all the servants of Shelby’s plantations who were freed left for Canada, converted to Judaism and established a congregation - with Uncle Tom leading as synagogue president.