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A Yiddish children's book by a shining star of Russian Jewish literature



Semen Grigo'revich Frug. Dos shteysel. Kishinev-Vilna, Ferlag Far Unzere Kinder, 1914.


17,5 x 12 cm. Stapled in publisher's pictorial wrappers. 32 pp. With portrait of the author and a lovely art nouveau headpiece. The wrappers damaged along the staples, but overall very well preserved.


Second edition of a Yiddish children's book by Semen Grigo'revich (or Shimen Shmuel) Frug (1860-1916), recalling a childhood memory.


Frug was a Russian and Yiddish poet and essayist, once "considered a shining star of Russian Jewish literature" (Horowitz). He grew up in Kherson Province (Ukraine). A native Russian speaker, he began publishing Russian poetry at the age of 19.


In the late 1880s he started to write Yiddish poetry as well, although his attitude towards Yiddish was very ambivalent. He recognised that most Russian Jews spoke Yiddish, but he believed that as Jews progressed they would stop using it. Not surprisingly, Frug placed a higher value on his Russian works."


Frug’s works can serve as a powerful refractive mirror of Russian Jewish life in the last decades of tsarist rule" (Horowitz).


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