Wednesday 29 August 2018


            He was born in Zamość, Lublin district, Poland, into a well-pedigreed, fervently anti-Hassidic family.  The name Perets may be of Sefardic origin, because in Spain the surname Peres [or Perez] is highly popular among Marranos.  This hypothesis is, however, not borne out by the facts.  Perets himself never remarked that he came from Sefardic roots.  We know that his great-grandmother, Naytshe Perets, came from Frankfurt-am-Main.  She was a devout woman who sat day and night with the Talmud and sang beautifully.  She lived in Levertov (Liubartov), where the Perets family settled after moving from Germany.  Perets’s paternal great-grandfather was a great scholar and the author of the popular religious work, Pene yehoshua (The faces of Joshua).  Because of his business, he often went abroad and introduced a kind of worldliness to the family which was passed on hereditarily.  The fact that the family was non-Hassidic should be especially noted, for in his later years Perets achieved the apogee of a writer’s mission both in his Hassidic tales and in his “folk stories” which have within them the kernels of Hassidism.  Perets’s father Yude was a great student of Talmud, and in Zamość he married Rivke Levin who was the daughter of a highly prominent “Leipzig” merchant, Shloyme-Hersh.  Y. L. Perets was closely tied on both his mother’s side and his father’s side to Torah and secular learning.  He was his parents’ third or fourth child; the earlier children had died, and he was thus the first-born son, not according to Jewish law but according to the attitude of his parents and his entire family toward him.  Perets’s father at first did business in lumber, sending rafts to Danzig, but he found no success in business.  So, his mother opened a notions shop, and his father joined in partnership with a new office: a beer brewery.  By nature Yude Perets was a virtuous man and, although he was never rich, he gave a great deal to charity, and he was always ready to help a poor man.  The future classic writer of Yiddish literature received a traditional Jewish education, but as he was growing up, he also had teachers of Hebrew, German, and Russian.  His father thought he ought to sit for the examinations for secular high school, but his mother who was very devout would not stand for such “heresy.”  From childhood, Perets had the makings of a prodigy.  He was blessed with a quick mind and a “sharp head.”  In addition, he had a proclivity to paint and to carve.  At age three he was already studying the Pentateuch and at six he was studying Talmud.  He went through numerous tutors, every one of whom was not only imprinted in his memory but also in his soul and his spirit.  The young Perets was very much alive, a bit of a brat.  On many occasions he played practical jokes on his elementary school teachers to get out of class for a while.  For a short time he studied in Shebershin (Szczebreszyn), three miles from Zamość,[2] and there a new world emerged before him: he had more free time and, more importantly, a slacker discipline, so that he could throw himself into the fields, the meadows, and the sun.  His teacher in Szczebreszyn, Reb Pinkhesl, was in his own way an “enlightened” Jew and he taught the students that it was most important for them to create for themselves an “intellectual problem”—to study on one’s own and “sharpen one’s head.”  They were expected to come before the teacher with questions and doubts.  Perets, who had from childhood evinced a passion to make his way alone to a conclusion and to “break through” a Talmudic passage, was enthused by Reb Pinkhesl’s manner of teaching and succeeded in learning a great deal more with him than with other teachers.  When he returned home to Zamość, he studied together with a friend under the celebrated scholar Avrom Yeshua Dayan and later with his close friend Yitskhok Gelibter in the synagogue study chamber.  At that time he was still very devout, observing fast days and penitential purifications.  At the age of thirteen, however, a change transpired within him.  He began to read texts that other boys his age had not read, such as Akedat yitsḥak (The binding of Isaac) and Ḥovot halevavot (Duties of the heart), among others.  Two works by the Rambam (Moses Maimonides) made a particularly strong impression on him: Yad haḥazaka (The mighty hand) and More nevukhim (Guide of the perplexed).  Perets was once reading a religious text, in which the author spoke without sufficient respect for the Rambam, and he became so angry that he blotted out the offending lines.  A fanatically devout young man saw this in the study chamber and set off a frightful scandal.  The young Perets was almost thrown out of the synagogue study hall as a result.  Later, his thirst for knowledge led him to works of kabbala, which he located on a bookshelf that he father held very dear.  But these books did not satisfy his thirst, because his curiosity for learning had gone much further.  Perhaps he responded to the works of kabbala with his emotions; to Jewish Enlightenment literature, on the other hand, to which he arrived a bit later, he responded with his intellect.  This he understood, but he didn’t love it.  In his adult years, he also struggled between ideas and feelings, and he would discover harmony between them in his searching.  He was at this time also acquainting himself with Polish literature.  His teacher for Polish was the son of the mathematician Avrom Yankev Shtern.  By chance, he happened upon a rich private library, and he threw himself into the books, as a thirsty man would to a well.  In this library there was mixed together in no order Dumas’s many volumes of fiction translated into Polish, Victor Hugo’s novels, and similar works, and next to them were scholarly work of physics, natural science, history, and even Napoleon’s Codex—all in Polish.  These books shook up his world view, leaving him full of doubts, and he had no on with whom he could speak about his spiritual discombobulation.  In Zamość there was a teacher of Jewish religion named Sh. Khorak who was later the Yiddish censor in Warsaw, and he advised Perets to go to Zhitomir and study there in the rabbinical seminary (from which he, Khorak, had graduated).  He even helped Perets with expenses by pawning his own gold chain.  Perets, though, remained in Zamość.  His great love for his mother, for whom his departure would have been a tragic experience, prevented him from proceeding there.  Perets grew into adult bachelorhood, and his father arranged a marriage for him.  He was engaged to the daughter of Gavriel-Yudl Likhtenfeld, a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment who wrote Hebrew poetry.  Following the wedding, Perets had to find a way to earn a living, although his father-in-law gave him a handsome dowry.  In Tsoyzmer (Sandomierz) he became a partner in a brewery and settled into that naturally beautiful town.  Perets, though, was engrossed in entertaining guests and in writing, such that the business was left virtually abandoned.  One year on the eve of Passover, he forgot to sell his leavened goods in the brewery, and after Passover he had to pour out all of the beer, because he could not delude his Jewish customers.  He lost all of his money and had to flee from the town with the cemetery in which he had buried his son Yankev.
            In 1876 and 1877 Perets lived in Warsaw and made a living teaching Hebrew.  In this period he also began to write creatively.  He had in fact been writing since childhood, but these were childish efforts, and in his mature years he never paid [this early work] any attention.  He dared to send a poem of his to a journal, apparently under the influence of his father-in-law Likhtenfeld.  This first poem of his, in Hebrew, was published in Hashaḥar (The dawn) (Sivan [= June-July] 1875).  It was entitled “Hashutafut” (The partnership) and was a satirical, narrative work.  A plague breaks out in a wealthy farmer’s flock, and the farmer comes before the heavenly Ḥamuel and pleads with him that, if he prays the plague might cease.  The heavenly one says that he can do this, but that the farmer must enter into a partnership with him for the sheep.  The farmer agrees, but the plague does not stop.  In the end the heavenly one comes for his portion of the sheep, as they had agreed upon, and the farmer then says: the sheep have all died.  The heavenly one says to him: But you have their hides, and I am a partner in them as well.  This poem, with which Perets debuted in print, was characteristic of his subsequent path.  Ordinarily, a poet starts off with a lyrical, personal, even highly sentimental work.  Perets set out with an Enlightenment poem, but at that time it had a kind of biblical resonance which suggests in a parable what the prophet Natan gave to King David, and afterward the king took Uriah’s wife Batsheva from him.  His second poem, “Ḥalukat haḥokhmot” (The transmission of wisdom), was also satirical.  His third poem, “Li omrim” (I am told), which appeared in Hashaḥar (1875/1876)—which Perets himself counted as his beginning—was lyrical.  In 1878 he published in A. B. Gotlober’s Haboker or (The morning light) a kind of programmatic poem, “Gavriel” (Gabriel).  He speaks in this poem against those Hebrew authors of the day who are primarily concerned with their florid language, and demands content from them, content which, he claims, is the essence of poetic creation.  Right on the matter of content, though, Perets was a loyal son of the Jewish Enlightenment.  Perhaps he dusted off the flowery language a bit, but he adhered to the Enlightenment’s path to teach the people.  In 1879 he published in Haboker or a Hebrew poem entitled “Kidush hashem” (Sanctification of the Name), based on a sad story of Jewish girl who at the time of the massacres of 1648-1649 preferred drowning, before falling into the hands of Khmelnytskyi’s Cossacks.  Years later in Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn (Folktales), he used this subject in prose.  In 1877 he and Gavriel-Yudl Likhtenfeld published the volume Sipurim beshir, veshirim shonim (Stories in verse, and miscellaneous poems), “by two collectors” (Warsaw, 158 pp.).  The majority of the poems were by Likhtenfeld.  Perets contributed a long poem, which was called “Ḥaye meshorer ivri” (Life of a Hebrew poet) and signed it YL”P.  Several other poems would also be signed in this way.  This long poem, “Ḥaye meshorer ivri,” and his poem “Hashefet vehamelits” (The judgment and the advocate) were signed by both men.  There were other poems that went unsigned altogether, and it is difficult to know which of the two authors composed them.  Perets’s poems in the volume possess more distinctively poetic indications, and Perets Smolenskin in Hashaḥar (1879) dwelt on them and noted that the beginner was one who truly appeared to be a poetic talent.  Before going to Warsaw, Perets divorced his wife.  Some two years later, during which he lived in Warsaw, he returned to Zamość and married for the second time, this time to Nekhame-Rokhl (Helene) Ringelblum from Lentshne (Łęczna).  He intended at this time to establish a Hebrew school in Zamość, but the pious Jews there would not stand for it.  For a short time, he and his uncle Yoysef Altberg and one Gedalye Shper operated a mill, but after the institution of new Russian laws and courts, on his own he arranged to turn his attention to working as a lawyer.  In a short period of time, he mastered the Russian code of laws and sat for the examinations of the circuit court.  Over the course of ten years, he successfully practiced as private lawyer.  Even Count Zamojski had confidence in him to serve on his behalf in court trials.  Twelve young men worked in the office with him, and they transcribed court papers for him.  In those years Perets earned a good deal of money, but he gave away every last penny of his earnings, because he was by nature a generous man and did not know how to save money.  During this decade, he published nothing, but he did write a great deal in Yiddish and in Hebrew.  Just as he had been cut off from a writing environment, his fastidiousness with himself was so fierce that he tore up and burned all of his writings from this period.  Uncle Yoysef Altberg, who was a great adherent of Perets’s talent, attempted to save those writings which came into his possession.  After Altberg’s death his two sons, both fanatic assimilationists, got their hands on these writings and destroyed them.  Older Zamość residents, though, thought of Perets’s poetry (Hebrew and Yiddish both) for many years.  The poems had a gentleness about them and concerning events in the city.  One of the poems was titled “Zamoshtsher pozhondkes” (Orderliness of Zamość), and it was very popular in the city.  Perets reacted to the pogroms at the beginning of the 1880s with a passionate poem that circulated in manuscript in Zamość.  There were skillful people who set these poems to melodies, and the people sang them and often did not even know whose poems they were.  As Shmuel Ashkenazi recounts, in this period Perets explicated in Yiddish sections from Tanakh.  Concerning this era in his life, of which we know little from Perets himself, Ashkenazi explains: Perets was already at the time extremely interested in Jewish social issues.  He in fact loved his people, especially the poor and lower strata of them.  He would always say: “For the old Talmudists and the bourgeoisie, there’s nothing we can do.  There is nothing with which to help them.  However, the ordinary folk, the working masses—this is a field in which to work.  This is an unhappy but capable people.  There are many idealists here, but they need to be educated.  Thus, I shall write in Yiddish; I want to create a Yiddish literature, to read and write for the people in their language.”  These very thoughts in roughly the same time frame were entertained by Mendele and also Sholem Aleichem, but Perets did not hear from them, for Yiddish literature from Ukraine did not make it to Poland.  Perets organized in Zamość evening courses for laborers, at which one might learn to write and do calculations, and Jewish subject matter every Saturday during the daytime: Fayvl Gelibter taught Ethics of the Fathers; Shmuel Ashkenzai spoke about the rabbis of the Mishnah and great Jewish scholars; Perets covered Jewish history.  His lessons were a great success.  People came from all over to hear him speak, even young Hassidim.  The government closed them all down.  On Perets alone fell suspicion of socialism, and this may have been the reason that later he was deprived of his permit to practice law.

            From 1886 Perets was living in Warsaw, and there he became closely acquainted with the circle of Hebrew writers.  Friendship with these writers influenced him, so that after a lengthy interruption, he would begin once again to write.  His new works appeared in Sokolov’s Haasif (The harvest), and there he published several short stories and the poems “Manginot hazman” (Melodies of the time) and “Hair haketana” (The small city [= The shtetl, which literally means “small city” (JAF)]), which made a powerful impression among his circle of writers as well as on readers.  The new items were in both content and form almost entirely free of Enlightenment and florid language.  The shtetl, which was always ridiculed and mocked by Enlightenment writers, was described poetically by Perets in “Hair haketana” as exalted and with artistic sympathies.  In “Manginot hazman” he ends by speaking in an original manner for the Yiddish language.  Already at this time Perets was speaking of Yiddish’s high artistic pathos, and he elevated the folk language to an exalted level of being the eternal witness of spilt Jewish blood—the language that bore the generations’ cries of woe.  This poem, still in Hebrew, was at the time genuinely revolutionary.  Another storm was raised by his poem “Lealma ivrit vehi mitnakeret” (To a Jewish girl who was estranged), in which he depicts a Jewish girl who removed herself from the Jewish people and assimilated.  Perets was at the time under the influence of a type of nationalism, and in this poem he expressed his distaste and ethnic pain for Hassidic daughters who were the forerunners of assimilation in Poland.  In this period, Perets also created his first work of Hassidic life “Hakadish” (The kaddish) and a long story entitled “Hatsits vehanifga” (The sprout and the wounded).  The editor of Hatsfira (The siren), however, harshly “corrected” the story, for there were places in it in which the author was openly critical of the clergy and highly studious students.  This period was the beginning of intensive creativity for Perets in Yiddish.  He had no place, though, to publish his work.  Warsaw in the 1880s was not a center of Yiddish literature, and only years later, under Perets’s influence, did Warsaw become the great center of Yiddish creativity.  Until 1888 Perets knew nothing of Sholem-Aleichem, although Sholem-Aleichem had already published over the course of five years feature pieces in Dos folksblat (The people’s newspaper).  Mendele came to know Perets only via a Polish translation.  Generally speaking, Perets wanted at the time to bring to his Yiddish readers science and Jewish history.  When Sholem-Aleichem asked him to write for Di yudishe folks-biblyotek (The Jewish people’s library), Perets volunteered translations of German philosophical and psychological writings.  He stated his motive for why he considered such works important in Yiddish: “I do not think of zhargon [Yiddish] as a secondary vessel, nor as a phenomenon to switch to.  I would like it to be a language, and thus we need to extend and augment the language every moment with thoroughly new expressions that a writer oughtn’t say—I find it too crowded.”  The first correspondence between him and Sholem-Aleichem was in Hebrew, but we have a sample of his Yiddish in the stories and poetry that he wrote at the time.  However, although Perets offered Sholem-Aleichem scientific works translated from German, the first item that he sent to Di yudishe folks-biblyotek was the ballad “Monish” (Monish), which was historically the first artistic discursive poem in modern Yiddish literature.  Sholem-Aleichem harshly edited the ballad, and Perets was quite angry with his editor, and for many years Perets bore a grudge against Sholem-Aleichem.  When the latter began to publish Di yudishe folks-biblyotek, Perets sharply resented Sholem-Aleichem, for it appeared as though Perets had enhanced his reputation therein.  When “Monish” was published in Sholem-Aleichem’s Folks-biblyotek, the literary critics of the day were divided in their opinions.  Critics such as Dubnov disparaged the ballad in the Russian-Jewish Voskhod (Sunrise).  This may have been pouring oil on the fire of Perets’s grievances against Sholem-Aleichem.  Other critics responded with enthusiasm.  One of them was Yankev Dinezon, and from that point there began the great friendship between the two men, a friendship from which developed a close collaboration and a loyalty until death separated them.  From the Folks-biblyotek, Perets became a Yiddish writer, and he published in Sholem-Aleichem’s collections a number of stories and became all the more well-known among Yiddish readers.
            In 1890 Dinezon published Perets’s first booklet, Bekante bilder (Familiar images), and wrote a preface speaking of the obligations of a new Yiddish writer.  Perets was already thirty-eight years of age at the time.  In this first booklet were included several stories, such as “Der meshulekh” (The messenger), “Vos heist neshome” (What is the soul?), and “Der meshugener batlen” (The mad Talmudist), which already firmly marked Perets’s path in literature.  In that era, Perets penned a poem entitled “Vu nem ikh a held?” (Where can I find a hero?), with which Dinezon was immensely enthused and wrote Sholem-Aleichem that this is a “grandiose poem” and that should Byron “rise up from the grave to read the poem, he would not know” that he had not written it himself.  As Dovid Pinski recounts, the poem was written in the style of Byron’s “Childe Harold.”  Perets, though, never published the poem, and later the manuscript was lost.  After his first literary successes, Perets began to neglect his lawyer’s work, and it was reported to the authorities that he was a revolutionary and that he wished to Polonize the Jewish population—until in 1889 he lost his right to practice law.  He departed for Warsaw and worked there for a short time with a relative who was a lawyer.  He was subsequently invited to participate in the statistical expedition that the economist and philanthropist Jan Bloch was dispatching throughout Poland, to collect material on Jewish ways of subsistence, to demonstrate later that Jews were a productive element.  The work lasted a half year.  Perets also assisted his son, Lucian, from his first marriage.  In the field of statistics, Perets was no great expert, but he was able to grasp the lives of Jews in the towns, and especially to observe Jewish life with artistic, penetrating eyes.  The material that he collected he later reworked in fictional images and published them in a book entitled Bilder fun a provints-rayze (Images from a trip in the provinces).  This volume contains artistic stories which further strengthened Perets’s reputation in modern Yiddish literature.  This did not, however, earn him a living, and Perets had to look further for a footing to support himself.  His Warsaw friends found him a position in the Jewish community, a post he continued to hold for twenty-five years—until his death.  Initially, he was an expert at calculations with a salary of 500 rubles per year, later becoming the official of the cemetery department with a salary that gradually rose to 2,400 rubles per year.  In fact, Perets became the great apologist for Yiddish and Yiddish literature, but he never abandoned Hebrew.  In his first years in Warsaw, he maintain close ties with local Hebrew writers, was even a productive leader of the group “Safa berura” (Pure language), and gave Hebrew speeches there which were a big success for those in attendance.  He and Dinezon taught Hebrew for free to poor children.  The more he was drawn into Yiddish creativity, the deeper he became immersed in Yiddish, especially when he was drawn to artistic experimentation in Yiddish literature.
            Those times were brimful of ideological fermentation.  The idea of folkism, which for Jewish intellectuals was close to Russian narodnichestvo, also fascinated Perets.  In his own way, as an artist, he sought a solution for Jewish problems of the time.  The unsettled, searching spirit brought him close to the ordinary Jewish people, as soon as he returned from the research expedition to the cities and towns of Poland.  And, it was at this time that the expedition brought him into close contact with assimilated Jewish intellectuals, and he sought to influence them into coming closer to ordinary Jewish life.  Perets emphasized popular education and making the Jewish population more productive—a population that on the whole lived in great poverty without a firm economic foundation.  Although Perets had a principal social ideal for the Jewish masses, he was first and foremost a writer, and the most radical means at his disposal for spreading images among the people was—literature.  The artistic word, he believed, was capable of carrying out a revolution in Jewish life.  With the assistance of Professor Dikshteyn, Dr. Goldflam, and Leo Grosglik (secretary of the Jewish community council), in 1891 he launched publication of Di yudishe biblyotek (The Yiddish library), an anthology of literature and society.  Yankev Dinezon played a major role in this undertaking.  For the first volume, Perets penned a preface which now rings as somewhat behind the times, but at the time it bore genuine significance.  Perets had arrived at an idea of Yiddish over the course of time, while his artistic expression in the Yiddish language became richer and the striving for artistic expression in him became ever stronger.  Just as Di yudishe biblyotek was gradually to become the center of the emerging, young Yiddish literature, so perforce was Perets to become the “impresario” of new writing talent.  The collections began to publish the writings of Avrom Reyzen, Yehoash, Sh. Ben-Tsien-Gutman, A. Droyanov, and M. Rivesman, and later gave birth in Perets’s environs to such writers as Sholem Asch, Hersh-Dovid Nomberg, Itshe-Mayer Vaysnberg, Y. Y. Trunk, and Menakhem (later called Boreysho), among others.  Perets’s residence at 1 Ceglana St. became the home of young Yiddish literature.  The more he became the artistic word in Yiddish, the more he kept in mind educating the people, and under the pseudonym “Dr. Shtitser” (Dr. Supporter), he published in these collections popular scientific articles—for example, on magnetism, on electricity, even on cooking salt.  In 1892 when cholera was ravaging Poland, Perets wrote a pamphlet entitled Ver es vill nisht, shtarbt nisht af kholyere (Whoever does not wish to, will not die of cholera).  This booklet was fifty-two pages in length and contained general information about bacteriology and hygiene.  A circle of Jewish students was forming around Perets, and they harbored the idea of publishing popular science books for the people.  Perets was planning at the time to publish “small, inexpensive booklets to teach our readers far away, and without the help of a teacher, various areas of knowledge and trades, such as mathematics, geography—in the main, political and economic.”  At this time Dovid Pinski settled in Warsaw and became Perets’s assistant in his literary endeavors.  Pinski introduced Perets to circles of the Jewish workers’ movement, and this had a major impact on him.  At this time the social consciousness of Jewish laborers was beginning to mature—only three or four years from the founding of the Bund.  The first Zionist congress (in 1897) had immense significance for the awakening of communal consciousness among the Jewish people.  Under the influence of the social stir among Jewish workers, Perets became more socially impetuous.  Yiddish literature became for him an entity unto itself, and with his overwhelming personality he affected others.  When Mortkhe Spektor, after a break of some four years, published the third volume of Hoyzfraynd (House friend), he began the issue with Perets: the novella Nile (Neilah, the closing set of prayers on Yom Kippur) and several poems.  When Yitskhok Goyde (B. Gorin) established in Vilna a publishing house for “kleyne ertsehlungen” (short stories), he published a booklet by Perets (containing “Yosl yeshive-bokher” [Yosl, the yeshiva lad] and “Dos kranke yingl” [The sick boy]).  The publishing house, founded under the name “Y. L. Perets’s Editions,” brought out nothing further after Dovid Pinski’s R’ Shloyme (Reb Shloyme) and Di affen (Apes).
            Perets, Pinski, and Spektor conceived in those years of new literary publications, even lobbying for the publication of a daily newspaper in Yiddish, but they did not receive permission.  It then occurred to H. Epelberg how to evade the government prohibition: bring out monthly publications and have them conform to a holiday, or just a holiday event.  From this idea evolved the Yontef bletlekh (Holiday sheets), which played such a great role in the growth of Yiddish literature in its youth and also of the radical Jewish community.  After the first leaflet—“Likhvoyd peysekh” (In honor of Passover) (1894)—Spektor withdrew from the endeavor, as it was too radical for him.  In the spirit of the era, Yontef bletlekh became all the more socialist, and Perets even stood in opposition to the Hebrew writers, among them Yehuda Leib Gordin and Aad-Haam.  He was at the time fascinated by revolutionary ideas.  He came out publicly against Aad-Haam’s “Merkaz ruḥani” (Spiritual center) in the land of Israel.  In an article, Perets wrote: “Is it possible that the torch—that is, the people—must be in one place, and the fire—namely, the culture of the people—in another place?”
            In those years, Perets was simultaneously writing in Hebrew.  He published a small volume of poems, Haugav, shire ahava (The harp, poems of love) (Warsaw, 1894), 32 pp.  Hebraists of the time responded to the poems with enthusiasm.  His love poems marked a new phenomenon in Hebrew poetry, insofar as they were erotically unbridled and to that extent they were a form of resistance to the Enlightenment poem which was fearful of singing concretely of love but only in a stilted manner.  In Haeshkol (The cluster), Yosef Klausner wrote an enthusiastic critique of Perets’s Haugav and compared the love poems of this slender book with the erotic poetry of the Tanakh, Yehuda Halevi, and other poets of earlier epochs.  However, Dovid Frishman who was always opposed to Perets excoriated the love poems.
            Among the awakened Jewish workingmen, Perets was becoming ever more popular and ever more beloved, and with impatience did simple toiling men await the new issues of Yontef bletlekh.  In the second number, entitled Der fayl un boygn (The arrow and bow), Perets placed a poem, “Di nakht-vekhter” (The nightwatchmen).  He signed his name as “Der lumpenputtser” and as a postface added “A frum rabonish lidl” (A pious, rabbinical little poem).  Written in the style of the work “Jesuits,” this poem soon became popular, and it was read out at labor meetings.  In the next issue of Yontef bletlekh, entitled “Likhvoyd shvues” (In honor of Shavuot), Perets published a piece that made him even more beloved among workers: “Di aseres-hadibres, mit a peyrush fun a kleyn balebesl” (The Ten Commandments, with a commentary by a little newlywed), a social satire against the rabbis and the clergy generally.  In later Bletlekh, Perets published features that were sharply directed against the Jewish tradition, in particular against such Jewish laws as ḥalitsa (release from levirate marriage), against the Hebraists and the “Lovers of Zion,” and against the “aristocrats” who were shocked when they heard that writers were beginning to use “zhargon.”  In the same vein, he wrote his stories “Dos shtrayml” (The fur-edged hat) and “Bontsye shvayg” (Bontsye the silent) which were published in Literatur un lebn (Literature and life).  Both stories strongly affected readers among the Jewish workers and turned them to socialism.  A number of his features were stimulated by the mood of the times.  Yontef bletlekh was distributed not by bookdealers and not by book peddlers, as was the custom then, but by young Jewish laborers and was used as propaganda material.  At the same time, the leaflets aroused a sharp opposition on the part of religious Jews and Hebraists.  The Vilna city preacher, R’ Hirsh Rabinovitsh, a son of R’ Yitskhok Elkhonen, came out firmly against this “heresy” which was leading people away from the proper path.  The publisher Aḥiasef brought out two pamphlets by Dovid Frishman—writing under the pen name A. Goldberg.  The pamphlets—entitled Lokshn (Noodles) and Floy af tishebov (A flea on the Ninth of Av)—were full of bitterness for Perets.  Herein lay the difficulties in publishing the Yontef bletlekh far and wide, mainly this rather than a lack of writers.  The majority of the material was furnished by Perets alone.  Much help was provided by Dovid Pinski and several Warsaw Yiddish writers, such as Spektor, Gershon Levin, E. N. Frenk, M. Y. Frid, and the Polish Jewish poetess Franciszka Arnsztejn.  Even the items written by his collaborators, though, Perets had to rework.  In a letter to Avrom Reyzen, he wrote: “Help!  I am pursued from every side.”  The first year saw the publication of ten Bletlekh.  With the help from a number of participants from the Jewish community, Perets was successful in expanding each issue from sixteen to thirty-two pages, and over the course of the second year, seven issues appeared.  Dovid Pinski set out through the bigger cities of the Pale of Settlement to collect money for the Bletlekh.  The censor, however, began to look with suspicion on the Bletlekh, and thus when there were police raids on Jewish workers, they discovered copies of them.  The struggle, both financial and against the Tsarist authorities, brought about the downfall of Yontef bletlekh in 1895, and a temporary cessation overtook Perets’s writing.  No periodicals in Yiddish were being published in Poland and Russia, and Perets published stories from time to time in the radical Yiddish press in the United States, such as Abend blat (Evening post) and Tsukunft (Future), under the name Plo”i, including his story “Veber-libe” (Weaver-love) which was written in the form of letters.  This story would first appear in book form after the February Revolution of 1917.  “Veber-libe” was characteristic of the socialist period in Perets’s writing.  He was now as completely absorbed in the Jewish labor movement as he was with the socialist ideal, spoke at secret workers’ meetings, read his works aloud there, and no one could have suspected that in just a couple of years there would transpire in him such a spiritual-creative upheaval, as a return to pure artistic creation and to Jewish folk sources which was deeply ethnic-national in content.
            In August 1899 Perets was arrested and together with Mortkhe Spektor spent over two months in the sadly famous Warsaw Citadel Prison.  The prison, it appears, provoked no spiritual upheaval in Perets.  The new period in his creative work began with the founding of Der yud (The Jew) which happened to have been a Zionist periodical, but which made a point of befriending Yiddish literature.  Perets was one of the closest contributors of this weekly and published in it a number of his Hassidic tales and folk stories.  This was in 1899, several months after his arrest for socialist activities.  In this new creative segment of time, Perets did not need to undergo any difficult spiritual struggle, for he was Jewish and folkish in his socialism, and he was ethical and humorous in his Hassidic tales and folk stories.  In general his ideology was artistic, not party programmatic, and even though he stood by the newly formed Bund, this was only in an artistic sense.  He was captivated by the violent socialist waves, principally out of an interest in Yiddish among Jewish laborers, as located in the folk language itself and their profound experiences of the soul.  With the momentum of enthusiasm, he went so far as to denounce the “Love of Zion” movement, already discouraged by political Zionism which at the time had already become the ideological refuge for well-to-do young men and bit by bit the followers of the Jewish Enlightenment who had come to their senses.  From a letter which Perets wrote to Yehoash years later, when the latter had settled in the land of Israel, we see that he was never an opponent of Zionism and, of course, not of the Jewish settlement on the land there.  When the Zionist Der yud emerged, Perets was drawn to it with virtually an artistic hunger.  He published in the weekly: “Oyb nisht nokh hekher” (If not higher), “Khsidish” (Hassidic), “A gilgl fun a nign” (Metamorphosis of a melody), and “Tsvishn tsvey berg” (Between two mountains)—writings which belong to the most important of his creative work.  Using the pen name Yisroel Shvergemut, he wrote for the journal “Briv oys varshe” (Letter from Warsaw), and under the pseudonym Di Bin, he was in charge of a section dubbed “Shtedt un shtedlekh” (Cities and towns).  Der yud also put out a monthly journal, Di yudishe familye (The Jewish family), and Perets wrote for it, with the initials “Y. L.,” overviews “Fun khodesh tsu khodesh” (From month to month).
            Perets was a late-comer to the customary, ordinary path of a writer.  His active creativity began in his mature years.  Although in 1901 (an alternate version of Perets’s birthdate is May 25, 1851) people celebrated a double jubilee for him—fifty years of life and twenty-five as a writer—in reality, the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth was the beginning of the creative work that established him at the forefront of Yiddish literature.  The celebration was very festive and Perets was given a present: his collected writings in Yiddish.  In Hebrew the publisher Tushiya (Wisdom) brought out his work in ten volumes, originals and translations from Yiddish.  The name Perets had now become renowned in Yiddish as well as Hebrew literature.  He also acquired a big name among the assimilated intellectuals, who stood at the edge of Jewish life and had not yet stepped with both feet on the other side.  Much is attributable to Perets’s personality, his broad stand, his aristocratic appearance, and the eternal youth in his shining eyes.  Perets evoked extraordinary respect, but he was also very kind to people.  His benevolence was, to be sure, in moderation.  He was the rebbe of young Yiddish literature, but even the writers who with his agreement assumed the place of honor in literature would, when all is said and done, bear enormous respect for their rebbe.  While he was still alive, Perets had already virtually become a legend.  His name arose at a time when Jewish youth aspired to the “wide world” but in a different way from the era of the Jewish Enlightenment: not to run to the world, but to embrace it within themselves and with its power create a synthesis of the world and the Jew.  With the force of his personality and his new creative pathway, Perets created this synthesis, and he artistically answered a historic call of the time.  His Hassidic tales and folk stories elevated traditional Jewishness, but by the same token, they now contained a new content in the semi-mystical tales.
            Artistically, Perets was a seeker of new forms, new ideas, new expressions.  Among Jewish young people, the era was also one of searching and many times losing their way.  In this as well, Perets was the expression of the times.  He possessed the artistic strength with his work to soon penetrate into the consciousness of searching Jewish intellectuals.  He stimulated and kindled the fantasy of the young, unchained readers, and his influence on their ethnic sensibilities was immense.  The Hassidic tales and folk stories were artistic hands on the watch of the times.
            Perets also wrote dramas.  They were more on the order of dramatic poems.  Their rhythm, the vehement lines, and their expressiveness get the better of the dramatic development.  In polish af der keyt (Detained in the synagogue anteroom) is perhaps the most dramatic of Perets’s dramatic poems, inasmuch as the tragedy of the individual is expressed here in a highly artistic manner.  The drama, however, breathes too much of the air of the Enlightenment which Perets, it seemed, wished to unload from himself.  The mystical drama, Bay nakht afn altn mark (At night in the old marketplace), is the most artistically mature, even though it had a model in a Polish play.  Perets executed in the play the linkage between this world and the next.  Above all else was the mastery of constructing the poetic lines, of creating dialogue in poetic form which to a high extent had to be natural.  Of course, there could be no talk of producing Bay nakht afn altn mark for the stage, as the Yiddish theater at that time had not grown to such tame language, to such rhythmic prose, and most important to have real, living people play on the stage, who were symbols here.  Perets read the play in a masterly manner, and with his melodic voice he invigorated the mystical-symbolic characters.  The crowning achievement of his dramatic creations was Di goldene keyt (The golden chain).  In the first edition it was titled Der nisoyen (The temptation), but Perets reworked it, created a new version, and in the final edition he dubbed the play Di goldene keyt.  Dramatic technique was thoroughly ideational.  The encounter between Reb Shloyme and Reb Pinkhesl was not done in an ordinary way as in other plays.  The conflict between Reb Shloyme and Reb Pinkhesl was completely ideational.  There is a spark of Perets himself in Reb Shloyme.  In the majority of his work, he yearned for festiveness, and even in his commonplace pieces there is something of solemnity.  Reb Pinkhesl, on the other hand, is the ordinary Jew who knows that there is no holiday without a week preceding it.  The high-level idea-driven struggle in the first act of the play was a new event in Yiddish literature.  Perets was the first one in our literature to raise ideas to such a sharp dramatic conflict.
            In the years following the establishment of the daily newspaper Der veg (The pathway), edited by Tsvi Pryłucki, Perets became editor of the feature division.  He also became a member of the society Yeshurun which took over the newspaper after its publishers withdrew.  Perets became a contributor to the Yiddish press, writing for most of the newspapers which came into being at this time in Poland.  It was at this time that he was directing dramatic circles and in general took a concerted interest in Yiddish theater.  His unsettled nature sought out completely new paths of forging expression.  Theater was, of course, dear to him, for in his profound and often tragic earnestness, there was a fair measure of theatricality.  In drama circles, Perets’s one-act plays Es brent (It’s burning) and Shvester (Sister) were performed.  Dovid Herman appeared at this time, and he later assumed an important place in the development of a better Yiddish theater.  Perets penned for the amateur group that Herman directed the one-act play Shampanyer (Champagne).
            In the years that Perets was writing for the newly emerging newspapers, he developed an original essayistic style which was both thoughtful and stylistically aphoristic and short.  He responded to Jewish cultural events, to literature, and to ideological conflicts in Jewish life of that era.  These were flashy, thoughtful essays which did much to aid the growth of the Yiddish essay generally.
            Perets was the spiritual leader at the convening of the Yiddish Language Conference—in Czernowitz in 1908.  He not only took part in the conference but he was its intellectual founder.  Requested to compose a larger work, Perets had in mind a big, bulky one on the topic of absorption in Yiddish.  Perets thus effectively created the historical novel, and furthermore the covert aim was the “Sabbath and holiday” Jews, a sampling of whom he gives us in Di goldene keyt.  Perets prevailed upon Yiddish literature in later years with this request.  At the Czernowitz Conference, he sent out a call to transpose into Yiddish all the treasures of the Jewish people, from the Tanakh until modern times.  In fact, Yehoash had earlier attempted to translate Pirke avot (Ethics of the Fathers) into Yiddish and particular books of Tanakh.  But the full conception of translating the entire Tanakh matured with Perets for the first time at Czernowitz—summer 1908—when he called for introducing into the Yiddish language all of the spiritual and artistic treasures which had accumulated since the very first years of Jewish creativity.  Perets formulated his attitude toward Yiddish at the Czernowitz Conference as follows: “This conference recognizes the Yiddish language at the language of the Jewish people and seeks the unity of Jewry in Yiddish culture and the Yiddish language.”  He also traveled through the major Jewish centers in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia, where he in his distinctively high artistic manner spoke about Yiddish and Yiddish literature, and everywhere he brought about a festival of the language which not much earlier was but a “zhargon” among the intellectuals.  In this period, Perets also became chairman of the “Yiddish Literary Society” and led energetic work on behalf of Yiddish artistic theater.  He organized a theater association to campaign in cities and towns.  He gave public readings of his own works, while leading the actions of the theater association.  In St. Petersburg he attempted to interest wealthy Jews in art theater, but at a banquet arranged for him, the elite of the Russian capital gave speeches in Russian, and Perets bluntly expressed his displeasure.  Nothing emerged from this plan.  Anti-Semitic fury was exploding in Poland at this time.  The super-patriots in Poland wanted to compel the Jewish population to vote for their candidates to the Russian Duma, but the Jews put up a forceful resistance, and this evolved into a boycott against the Jews.  Perets was at the time a writer for Fraynd (Friend) and was developing an intensive journalistic presence.  He was principally fighting against the Polish-Jewish assimilationists and expressing in an ever clearer manner ethnic-national ideas which for him were ever more closely tied to the Yiddish cultural movement.  In a separate booklet, he published the articles that he had penned for Fraynd under the title Polemik mit der varshever asimilatsye (Polemic with Warsaw assimilation) and thus was fueled a fierce conflict between him and the heads of the Jewish community.  They did not, however, dare to try and silence him, as he was the most popular writer and cultural activist among ordinary Jews.
            The day-to-day work in the Jewish community had a harsh effect on Perets, and more than once he wanted to abandon his position in the “morgue,” but his friends discouraged him from doing so, because he would then be completely without means of support.  The trustees of the community pressured him more and more.  Many times they even hindered his travels to cities and towns where people regularly invited him to give speeches and readings from his work.  Perets was supposed to travel to the United States to give some lectures, but he was unable to receive permission to do so from the community leaders.  The last twelve years of his life, he was only allowed summer leave and he traveled to Switzerland to recuperate from the weakened condition of his health.  His unsettled searching character aroused him to action, to build cultural institutions, to introduce innovations into Yiddish literature.  When the Tsarist authorities banned the “Yiddish Literary Society,” “Hazemir” (The nightingale) was founded and soon Perets became active in it.  He was initially the vice-chairman of Hazemir, later serving as chairman, and he often appeared there in the evenings arranged by the institution.  Instituted at Hazemir were “kestl-ovntn” which were evenings involving a kind of combination of play and serious cultural speeches.  Perets frequently appeared at these evenings and gave improvised speeches, and the young Jewish audience came to these evenings in the hundreds.  Perets was also becoming interested at the time in Jewish ethnography and art, and he campaigned for a Jewish museum and actively supported Jewish sculptors.  Perets had an idea to establish a Yiddish journal that would simultaneously appear in print in the United States and in Poland, and it later was published: Di yudishe velt (The Jewish world), brought out by B. Kletskin in Vilna.  From its inception Perets aligned himself closely with the journal and published in it one of his last folk stories, “Der din-toyre mitn vint” (The rabbinical lawsuit against the wind), as well as his memoirs and some other fictional items.  In 1912 he moved from Fraynd to Shmuel-Yankev Yatskan’s Haynt (Today), and radical Jewish circles were terribly disheartened by his new refuge.  What to draw from Perets’s switching from the quiet, modest newspaper Fraynd to Haynt, the most sensationalist newspaper in Yiddish, is unclear.  The hypothesis that Perets’s mood at the time, “Tsurik in shul arayn” (Back to synagogue), was the reason for his crossing over to Haynt, is not at all certain, for there were other writers at Fraynd who gravitated back to the synagogue.  Perets once said in passing that he was drawn to a wider audience of readers and that it was possible that the true reason for his change was the broadly diversified readership of Haynt.  Perets published his articles in Haynt under the rubric “In mayn vinkele” (In my little corner), and thus he wished to emphasize that he had his own corner in the newspaper.  In his “corner,” Perets wrote: “I have stood, stand, and until my last breath shall stand in the ranks of the fighters for the radical-progressive Jewish idea.”  Perhaps he invested in this sentence his own explanation, that the reading audience of the day accepted him, even more in his present position.  Perets’s manner of writing did not conform to the readers of Haynt.  He himself did not feel a sense of home there, even in his own “little corner,” and domestic harmony between him and the editorial board did not last long.
            From 1913 Perets was again contributing work to Fraynd, flying around furiously in his characteristically journalistic way, in reality writing elegant feature pieces in the broad European fashion.  This was a period of elections to the Duma, when Polish anti-Semitism was running rampant.  Perets was selected by the Jews to stand for election.  The Duma elections were not carried out in a direct manner, but people nominated those to stand for them and then Duma deputies were chosen from them.  People were saying that he, Perets, should be chosen as a deputy.  Later, they united around a compromise candidate, the Polish socialist Eugeniusz Jagiełło.  Meanwhile, though, the Polish boycott of Jews flared up and the persecution of Jews spread widely, both on the part of the Polish population and on the part of the Russian government.  Perets was bitterly disappointed in “radical progressivism” and this had a devastating effect on him.  Meanwhile the world war erupted, and before the fighting heated up, persecutions of the Jewish population had already begun throughout Russia, especially in Poland which lay at the border of Germany and Austria.  The Tsarist authorities drove the Jews from their residential areas.  They were driven from the towns to the big cities, notably Warsaw.  Perets threw himself, life and limb, into relief work and attempted with whatever he could to relieve the desolation of the preyed upon and goaded.  He turned the main auditorium of Hazemir into a sanctuary for the refugees.  He gave everyone gifts that he had received from his admirers, as the money from them could go for help.  Most importantly, he devoted assistance to the children of the refugees.  He took on himself the initiative to set up a Froebel-style school (opened March 1915) for refugee children and orphans, the first children’s home in which the language of instruction was Yiddish.  Perets wrote short poems and stories in verse for them.  In this period, he did not cease his own work on poetic translation of the Scrolls into Yiddish.  He had begun this work soon after the Czernowitz Conference.  His translation of the Song of Songs, with an analysis of the work, was first published in Tsukunft in New York in 1912.  With great diligence he was working on Ecclesiastes.  On numerous occasions, he reworked his translations of the Scrolls.  He published in Yudishe velt 1 (1915) his humorous “Nile in gehenem” (Neilah in hell).
           These difficult experiences ruined his health, and on the third day of the intermediate days of Passover, 1915, around 9:00 a.m., he suddenly died of a heart attack.  On his writing desk was lying a small sheet of paper with the first two lines of a poem:
Stiler, shtiler,               Hush, hush,
Danken vil er…           He wishes to give thanks.
The unhappy news spread with lightning speed across the entire Jewish world, and Jews were saddened at the death of their anointed poet.  Over 100,000 Jews attended the funeral, although the Tsarist authorities attempted in a crude manner to hinder the funeral march: the police did not allow the funeral procession to walk through the main streets of Warsaw.  Polish street urchins broke into cars that were part of the procession and threw rocks at it, but the 100,000-person-strong crowd moved along in solemn silence, and they did not permit any desecration of the sacred sadness of a people who were taking their chosen son to his eternal rest.  Although it was wartime, evenings of great sadness were held throughout the length and breadth of Jewish communities, even on the battlefields where Jewish soldiers were serving.  It took a full ten years before a stone was erected over Perets’s grave.  The burden of war and revolution and the transition to independent Poland impeded the placement of a tomb for him, “Perets’s tomb.”  In the dark years of the Nazi occupation, there was a fear that the Nazis would destroy “Perets’s tomb,” but it remained whole, and amid the Jewish destruction of Poland, it remained a symbol of the 1000 years of Jewish life in Poland and for the revival and growth of modern Yiddish literature.
Froym Oyerbakh

Critical Assessment (Selections)
            The most diverse motifs echo through his writings: social and individual-psychological, religious-ethical and pure philosophical motifs.  The leitmotif of his work is just as hard to define as his basic direction….  To which generation, to which direction in Yiddish literature does Perets belong?  However, not in Yiddish literature must one seek his direction, but the very opposite: look in him for the directions taken by modern Yiddish literature.  The beginning of virtually all of them was in him: he is the history of Yiddish literature in miniature.  Not only in content was he rich and varied, but the forms: epic, lyric, drama—he tried them all out.  Of the epic forms one very important one was missing: the novel.  He was evolving with us, beginning on the eve of WWI.  Perets only fantasized about writing a novel.  In this way, Perets is the father of the modern novel in Yiddish literature….  Yes, one can by rights call Perets: the master of probing.  He gave us trials and probes, if not of everything, then of many different literary forms….  He was changing, full of disquiet.  But the deeper reason for his not wanting to remain as in the past, for his perpetual searching, perpetual experimenting, perpetually “hanging up images” and revising his work—was his lack of certainty, his lack of permanence.  By himself—and with his belief in himself, not only in his work—was he able to get through….  For himself, and not solely his writings, he did not stop with one reworking, and just as was the case with many of his works, he himself also remained without a final edition, so to speak.  Just as was the case with his plays and poems, we have of him a diversity of variants….
            A versatility together with a unfocused essence, a large but crumbling fortune—this was Perets’s strength and his weakness.  His weakness one senses in one of his works, the strength in all of them taken together.  The first time one embraces in a single glance his entire corpus, one discovers that all of his writings have a single source, that they possess no more than three basic features, which are united—the three features that are character traits of his poetic countenance….  They are: (1) intellectualism; (2) ethicism; and (3) romanticism.
            Intellectualism.  None of our poets have produced such a wealth of ideas as did Perets….  The new ideas did not give Perets a new truth so much as new food for intellectual thought.  They destroy calm, they ignite fires in the eyes—this is their accomplishment.  Must they be the truth?  Contrary to an aesthetic nature, which the fixed form loves, the intellectual loves a fluid content; the aesthete gains satisfaction from that which has emerged, the intellectual—in what is in the midst of becoming.  If Mendele, if Asch in his younger years saw the static, well-established, it was because a writer like Mendele or the young Asch observed things; if Perets was dynamic, it was due to the fact that he thought….  Perets’s ideas were images of ideas.  Not deduced but long dreamt of, revealed….  Not a random intellectualism, but intuitive artistic intellectualism.  In this way were the following traits of Perets’s writing linked: (a) aphorisms; (b) persistence of parallels; (c) allegory; and (d) the spirit of satire.  Reasonably profound and engrossed is what separates Perets so sharply from other Polish Yiddish writers and established him a head taller than them.  With a head in the imagistic sense of the word.  In Perets was united Lithuanian profundity with Polish sentimentalism….  The sentimentality, though, was one of the signs that characterize the ethical in Perets, so let us move on to the second character trait of his work.
            Ethicism.  Perets had no ethical credo, no well-define and stable moral code.  In his ethical sensibility, he was just as impressionistic, just as full of expressiveness as he was in his thinking philosophically, as he was in his entire corpus, the blood of a moralist flowing quietly in his veins.  He disguised his moralism (he was a past master at disguise); he moralized like an artist, but his art was moralistic.  If one could separate means from ends, content from form, one would be able to say that its final purpose was a good one, higher and more elevated, while the means was beautiful, and that while form is important to it, content is more important….  In Perets the artist and the man of ideas are linked very closely, for his art itself an art of ideas….  By the same token, Perets had the appearance of an aesthete who loved and appraised appearance and form; in principle, form was for him internal, the thing.  If it is correct to say that the essential Jew is the ethical quintessence, then it wasn’t Mendele but Perets who was the Jew among Jews….  The ethical person is a person of aspirations, of desires—and in Perets’s works one senses something of a wholly separate realm of voluntarism….  The heavy-duty quality of his heroic and self-sacrificing figures was just like his own pure ethical quality….  And thus he declared that the seat of honor in his work was occupied by people, not by nature.
            Romanticism.  The ethical and the intellectual pervade Perets’s entire oeuvre.  His third character trait—the romantic—marks another level in his work: the highest.  He initially appeared to be a realist, just like all the earlier Yiddish writers.  His realism, however, was more internal and psychological, and what’s more, he was moving ever more toward the spirit and taste of romanticism.  I would say that he approached this very spirit, because tied up intimately with him was the fact that this was possible only when one is completely liberated from the harsh burden that life foists upon us, but when one shuts one’s eyes, or when one only looks within oneself, or when one looks up with delight, naïvely and wide open, toward heaven; only then can one flutter and soar in the world of visions and fantasies, in the world that knows neither borders nor hard and fast demarcations.  The mixture of realistic style with the unrealistic was a highly frequent phenomenon with Perets.  We encounter it not only in his stories or in “Monish.”….
            Dreams—from the very beginning they were a kind of bridge that linked for Perets the real, everyday world to the romantic and fantastic world.  Dreams liberate us from the cold, hard chains that law and logic inflict upon us; the dream is a festival of our fantasy….  When the fantasies within it start to soar, he recounts for us stories with dreams.  Later, he turned his attention to dramas with a dream: In polish af der keyt is subtitled “A kholem fun a kloyznik” (A dream of a study-house scholar), and Bay nakht afn altn mark is subtitled “Der troym fun a fibernakht” (The dream of a feverish night).  The dreamer is the greatest improviser, and by nature Perets’s assistant and partner….  Romanticism is, though, more than an ordinary dream that one might dub a dream in reality….  And, it was certainly no secret that, just like Perets’s ethical character trait and his intellectualism, so too the romantic in him helped to form his complex, contradictory, and uniform, poetic personality.  His romanticism may perhaps have been, more than the other character features of his poetic self, the ladder that took him from the level of folk-writer to the rung of national poet….  The romantic in him became all the more—him and him alone….  Perets was the richest, most versatile, and the most stimulating Yiddish writer.  But, wasn’t it a wealth that was scattered and dispersed?  Was it not a versatility that awoke but did not slake the thirst?  These three sensible and illuminating main lines which extend through the entire range of his writings were surely more a tendency toward uniformity than uniformity itself.  Thus, the intellectualism in Perets cooled off the romantic in him, and it rendered the ethical too critical and skeptical.  None of the three central lines lasted until the very end: Perets’s intellectualist energy did not create a philosophy, but one, indeed highly suggestive, idea or aphorism.  His ethicism did not crystallize into any well-defined moral; his romantic longing and aspirations never made of him a full-blown romantic….  What then was he?  The sort of incomplete genius of whom Edgar Allen Poe said: He did not shine but he flashed….  The brilliant fragment of a genius bore unending flashes, gentle and striking, through the air of Yiddish literature….  They could not occupy the place of the sun with unending flashes, so they opened up for us heavens and abysses.
Shmuel Niger

            No one among Yiddish writers generally had so much to do with more purely mundane and mundane-spiritual problems than the restless mundane-spirit—Perets.  I might say that Perets made use of all the treasures of the Hassidic world of fantasy, so as to transform through it the mysterious heavens into a report to the feet on the materialistic ground.  He nourished the heavens with purely earthbound food, and as the heavens once administered three gifts (“Dray matones” [the title of a story by Perets—JAF]), so he brought it three dabs of ordinary human suffering….  He once deceptively overturned the local, hard-and-fast ideology of the world-to-come and established a new, earthbound one, and like every rebellious person bold enough to begin a “new round,” he had an excess of strengths and thus often made errors.  One encounters his errors of this sort not only in the solutions to this or that established problem, but also in the technical properties surrounding the problem and in the style that he spoke about it.  We thus get a Perets with many styles, many variations.  Not having once altered the content of his rebellious fervor, it would more than often occur that he would change the actions that had guided it, as a consequence.  In essence, however, he always remained one and the same.  Beginning with his authentic ordinary tales and concluding with what the familiar audience would grasp as authentically mystical.  He changed no more than the clothes, as his wardrobe was bizarrely immense.  The work he most loved was: building, tearing down, and re-building, according to a new plan….  He loved to choose wandering as a method, just as on hazy, cloudy days he enjoyed wandering around Warsaw’s gray and damp streets and complaining about the “anti-Hassidic guy” who doesn’t get it….  Not fearing wandering off is the prime characteristic of rebellious momentum….  He was too full of effervescent momentum to remain a logical artist.  But, this does not obscure the truth that Perets outlived many logical artists and will still outlive many logical artists.
Dovid Bergelson

            Open up his books, plunge right into the lines of Bay nakht afn altn mark, Di goldene keyt, the Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn (Folktales), and other stories and descriptions of Jewish life—you open up for yourself the still undreamt of, festive gateway to his own world.  You’ll be just like at the climax of a holiday, of a Sabbath disaster.  The week is also incorporated into this tragic festiveness.  The gate is open.  You are standing at the threshold of that world of wonders which our people have created through dreamt up, extraordinary images.  He dreamt up the images and laid out a world through them….  For the first time we see here, both through Perets’s powers of revelation themselves and through the illumination that he has brought about in us, just what an immense world our simple and wonderful people possessed in themselves.  Our people in the towns, in the distant villages, among the dense forests and settlements.  How often in the history of life and of people does it happen that one can match simplicity and poverty with wondrousness—not often!  Wondrous people among the wretched, among the most ignored, among the so-called idler, wanderers, poorhouse-dwellers, sick boys, synagogue anteroom lads, ordinary Hassidim, and craftsmen.  Thus, wondrous Jews—because they possess something in themselves which moves the sanguine, the proud heart of the world.  The fatefulness of the kind of people who pass through the most difficult and most tortuous roads, through pain and through affliction, through wandering and through sadness, to the joyous union with the creator of the world—once, all alone, oblivious.
H. Leivick

            Perets created for our Yiddish cultural renaissance a historical refuge, gave it the “golden chain” of tradition, and thus made it possible for a language and literature revival to emerge and grow into a renaissance of culture and life.  Concretely speaking, Perets’s golden chain of tradition was initially filled with content from our secular Jewish school and gave meaning to our cultural aspirations.  What does our tradition itself consist of?  In stringing together the connective threads of the festive pearls of each generation; to gather from among the fake jewelers of the generations perhaps somewhere in all the hullabaloo of life and history dispersed gems and capture them in a spiritual web for the coming generations….  The great creator Perets in his Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn ignited the flare of tradition with which were illuminated past generations and with which the social heroes of our time nourished their exaltations and preparedness to sacrifice….  Without the Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn, our social heroes would have been just anonymous soldiers at the general battlefront; on the tradition’s banner of the Jewish idea of the sanctification of the name [= martyrdom], they are national heroes who throw light on the everyday nature of the people’s lives, raising millions to the level of the ideal divine service for world liberation and justifying the historical content of our cultural renaissance.
Shloyme Bikl

            Perets arrived in an epoch of spiritual disquiet, the disquiet of the century which he transplanted in a wondrous way into Jewish life; not so much did he transplant as create the spiritual bridge between disquiet in our Judaism and the great European and tense expectations about the twentieth century which until him we envisioned with our Jewish appearance.  We were aesthetically and ethically lonely until Perets connected us to the world and demanded that the world listen to the Jewish voice that had something to say in the century of great expectations….  For our generation Perets believed that striving to seek Jewish orientation in light of great Jewish events and in darkness, if you will, of a frightening catastrophe unparalleled in human history.
Yankev Glatshteyn

            Perets was the first Jewish artist from whom one could learn something.  People still learn from him today, and people will continue to learn….  Absent Perets, we would have another literature.  The most important of Yiddish writers have walked along Perets’s pathways until contemporary times, each in their own way.  We live in Perets and he—in us.  Perets appears through us in his true light, in the light of each generation distinctively.  And, if one digs deeper, one sees that, without Perets, we would have talented people, great talents, but we would not have had a Yiddish literature, and when people would show you with signs and wonders that Perets’s artistic word is not pure, not the best flour, flour mixed with bran, and you would think that from such flour the prophets baked bread when they were off in the desert and speaking to God.
Yoysef Opatoshu

            From a poor creature, from a jargon that Mendele dragged away from the marketplace and from the kitchen and placed on his own shoulders—Yiddish and creative writing in Yiddish was suddenly elevated to a national culture that required no one’s consent, and to which everyone had to yield.  Not Mendele, the deep digger and chastiser, the severe authority, not Sholem-Aleichem, the outspoken, the friend loved by everyone, neither of them did it at that time.  This was first accomplished with Perets; and 1901, the jubilee has become a date in our literary history and modern culture….  A new concept was clearly expressed for the first time: Yiddish literature.  Not just ordinary writers and books which we had from before, and certainly not of any light weight, but a literature—that is, a new purpose for the talented energy of our people, a new measure with which to assess spiritual value.  For the first time we have detected and glimpsed with clarity that we have a Yiddish literature—meaning our own normalcy which seeks out and finds its goals and paths not in the alien, not in programs and popular exigencies, but within ourselves, in our own aesthetic and intellectual breadth and depth.  Not to serve or to guide, but to justify it itself, a revelation, a redemption for artistic energy which has been stifled and choked in the popular soul over the generations, and in the end squandered with the momentum of a flow from the source that tears down all fences.  An accounting was taken, and we glimpsed a chain where earlier we had seen scattered links.  It, the chain, is now witness to attest to its separate parts, to indicate to them their place, not the opposite, as it has been until now.  And remarkably, in this new light which we have suddenly won, we see with new eyes what has transpired until now.  By the same token, we have begun to accept and understand the pillars, Mendele and Sholem-Aleichem, and those before them: Dik, Aksnfeld, and others…—this is then literature.
Nokhum Shtif

Research on Perets
            In 1915 Ber Borokhov published his Perets bibliography in the New York journal Literatur un lebn, di naye idishe velt (Literature and life, the new Jewish world) 5 (1915), pp. 103-26—this issue of the journal was also published as an offprint: Y. l. perets, a zamelbukh tsu zayn ondenken (Y. L. Perets, a collection in his memory) (New York, Literarisher farlag, 1915), 126 pp.  This bibliography consisted of 180 entries.  Noted there were only those items published while Perets was living.  It was divided under the following headings: (a) Perets’s writings; (b) what others had written about Perets; (c) on Perets’s biography and personal character (especially singled out were materials that characterized his views on Yiddish); and (d) translations of Perets’s writings into other languages.  In his introduction to the bibliography, Borokhov points out that it was compiled “in a great hurry,” and consequently it was incomplete; it is missing many items, but it served as a basis for subsequent bibliographical work, about which we shall speak below.[3]
The Soviet Yiddish bibliographer and literary researcher Arn Gurshteyn published in 1926 a study entitled “Der itstiker tsushtand fun peretses byografye (vegn di farefntlekhte materyaln far peretses byografye)” (The present state of Perets’s biography, on published materials for Perets’s biography).[4]  He listed and analyzed all the biographical material which was known at the time.  Gurshteyn began with memoirs published in Vilna’s Di yidishe velt (The Jewish world) and Warsaw’s daily newspaper Dos lebn (Life).[5]  He characterized the memoirs and discussed their value.  Gurshteyn examined Borokhov’s bibliography, Nokhum Oyslender’s article, “Peretses veg” (Perets’s pathway), various pieces by Bal-Makhshoves on Perets, Yisroel-Khayim Zagorodski’s biography of Perets, and a batch of Perets’s letters that Nakhmen Mayzil had published around this time.  Gurshteyn also cited Sh. L. Tsitron’s memoirs concerning Perets, indicating certain errors, and he noted of these errors that Moyshe Shalit had pointed them out earlier.[6]  In his detailed work he also dwelt upon various treatises about Perets which contained biographical material.  He enumerated articles and other works by B. Gorin, Avrom Reyzen, Zalmen Reyzen, Sholem Asch, Dovid Pinski, Moyshe Litvakov, Nakhmen Mayzil, Hersh-Dovid Nomberg, Beynish Mikhalevitsh, M. Mikhelzohn, A. Litvak, Y. Y. Trunk, and Sholem-Aleichem, and he mentioned the special Perets issue of Di yidishe velt[7] and the anthology Y. l. perets, tsum yortsayt (Y. L. Perets on the anniversary of his death) (Petrograd, 1916).  Gurshteyn stressed that Perets’s famous article “Bildung” (Education) was written under the influence of assimilationist Professor Dikshteyn.  He also analyzed the articles and essays concerning Perets by Sh. An-ski, Yankev Dinezon, Rivesman, Yoysef Yashunski, Ben-Tsien Kats, Menakhem Boreysho, Dovid Frishman, Matisyohu Mizes, Mikhl Vaykhert, Mortkhe Spektor, Tsvi Hirshkan, Dovid Herman, Sore Perle, Mark Shveyd, Khayim Gildin, Alter Katsizne, Roza Laks-Perets, Y. Gusinov, and L. Shur.[8]  Gurshteyn’s work is both objective from a scholarly perspective and detailed.  His method was to take a specific period in Perets’s life and compare what individual writers have had to say and evaluate the worth of the treatment for Perets’s biography.  Gurshteyn discussed biographical details on the eve of the founding of the Bund: Perets, the editor, publisher, his connections to the Jewish labor movement, to followers of the Jewish Enlightenment, his beginning as a writer, his literary environment, his meetings with writers, his attitude toward Yiddish, his method of writing, the adaptations of his work, and his playwriting.  Gurshteyn offers the following summation:

No effort to prepare Perets’s overall biography (even in a popular form) has been done for the present….  Thus, we have only biographical notices concerning Perets in the general literary publication Evreiskaia Entsiklopediya (Jewish encyclopedia) (written in 1912) and in Reyzen’s Leksikon (Biographical dictionary) (first published in Warsaw in 1914).  We have already noted the cliché which is firmly established in these works.  The scheme that Yisroel Tsinberg offers in Evreiskaia Entsiklopediya repeats, oftentimes word for word, Zalmen Reyzen in the Leksikon; the latter author is only more a storyteller, and we find in his work a handful of facts from Perets’s early years….  M. Spektor also provides a descriptions of Y. L. Perets’s life as an appendix to his booklet: Mit y. l. perets in festung (With Y. L. Perets in the Citadel prison) (1919), but the notices introduced nothing new into the biographical Perets literature.

A. Gurshteyn emphasized that the anonymous biography which was published in Literatur un lebn, di naye idishe velt in New York and Zelig Kalmanovitsh’s biography published in Di vokh (The week) in Vilna were valuable in that they made use to a certain extent of the material in Perets’s memoirs.
In the same volume of Tsaytshrift [as Gurshteyn’s essay] was also published Nokhum Oyslender’s work, “Peretses shtet un shtetlekh” (Perets’s towns and cities) (pp. 61-72).  Oyslender concerned himself with the era between Perets’s Hassidic tales and his Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn, citing Ruvn Brainin who in 1902 wrote that in Perets’s newest Hassidic stories he repeated himself.  Oyslender agreed with this point of view, and he added that Perets’s “Hassidic manner was at times exhausted in the stories in which he attempted to pull the thread further to Khsidish (Hassidic), bringing nothing new with them.  The fundamental improvement which Perets made to his earlier work (as well as to Khsidish), preparing them for the jubilee edition, demonstrate clearly how powerfully Perets’s masterworks had grown in the last years before the jubilee.  It was evident, however, that in the first post-jubilee years, Perets had no outlet for his new artistic stage which was later embodied in Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn.”  Oyslender thus meant that Perets turned to journalism.  Oyslender analyzed Perets’s journalism from those years and especially his series “Shtedt un shtedlekh” in Der yud of 1902.  He also cited Perets’s journalistic articles in Di yudishe familye and in Der fraynd in St. Petersburg (1903).  Oyslender stresses that “before we begin to celebrate Sore Bas-Tuvim of the past, he demonstrates earlier the utter emptiness of ‘Bobe yakhne’ (Grandma Yakhne) from the present.  And in the light of day, the text of ‘Shtedt un shtedlekh’ rises up and years later is allowed to belong to Perets’s works.”
Volume 2 of the new revised edition of Zalmen Reyzen’s Leksikon fun der yidisher literatur, prese un filologye (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish literature, press, and philology) appeared in Vilna in 1927.  The Perets biography with bibliography occupied sixty-nine columns.  For the biography, Reyzen made us of virtually all materials that were known at that time.  Reyzen used Perets’s memoirs and the known letters that Perets wrote to Yisroel Tsinberg when the latter asked him for biographical materials for the Russian Jewish encyclopedia.  Reyzen also used the memoirs that Perets’s friends entrusted to him (Shmuel Ashkenazi, Yitskhok Gelibter) and Perets’s letters.  Reyzen’s treatment was written in an enthusiastic tone, full of affection.  He handled accurately Perets’s literary creative work, but he also described his cultural, community, and publishing activities.  Perets’s attitude toward Yiddish occupies an important place in this monograph, as well as his place as a legitimizer of Yiddishism, although Perets also wrote in Hebrew and was even active (for a certain period of time) in worked dedicated to spreading the Hebrew language.  Reyzen also describes Perets’s employment and his economic status.  He enumerates Perets’s creative work, probes their characteristics, and discusses in detail his dramatic work and Perets as a creator of new forms.  He analyzes Perets’s approach and his outlook on the tasks and goals of Yiddish literature and his aspiration to connect Yiddish literature to world literature.  Zalmen Reyzen documents with precision Perets’s radicalism, his ideal of spreading education among the Jewish masses, and his work on behalf of Yiddish theater.  Reyzen rejects the scheme according to which Perets’s writings are divided by periods.  Said schema would divide Perets’s work in the following manner: (1) Jewish Enlightenment period, until roughly 1893-1894; (2) socialist period, the era of Di yontef bletlekh; (3) Hassidic-romantic period, until roughly 1907; and (4) impressionistic period, until about 1914.  Reyzen holds that such a periodization is inconsistent.  Already in the period of “Monish,” there was both Enlightenment as well as mystical and romantic tendencies; and he was writing Hassidic tales during the time of Di yontef bletlekh.  Later, when Perets brought to a close his Hassidic tales, in which Hassidism was glorified, he penned the drama Der nisoyen in which he expressed an Enlightenment anti-Hassidism.  Reyzen embraced Shmuel Niger’s approach: “Shmuel Niger was the first to offer a concept of synthesis in Perets’s spirit, of his creative sympathies and leanings, tracing back all manifestations of the poet to three principal moments: the romantic, the intellectualist, and the ethical.”  Reyzen also accepted Nokhum Oyslender’s evaluation of Perets as the poet of Jewish will.  He divides Perets’s writings according to the following order: first era—Perets finds himself under the influence of Russian and Polish literature of that time period, and he depicts the lives of the “lowly strata of the people” and the harsh lives of the people generally; second era—there arises for Perets a distaste for the commonplace and the gray reality, and the main motif becomes at the time stark for him—the problem of the personality, his longing for “a complete person,” for “a harmonious personality”; third era—the epoch of neo-Hassidism “with the overestimation of the Enlightenment-rationalistic attitude toward mysticism”; fourth era—modernism, as Reyzen writes: “However, internally he could not respond to the dark spirit of modernism, and he struggled with this”; fifth era—“under the influence of Maxim Gorky, he returned to a healthy, robust optimism.”  Reyzen contradicts himself with this periodization—for, as he himself writes, Perets was earlier dominated by a variety of feelings, and he wrote at the same time works that express a variety of ideas, orientations, and tendencies.  Reyzen divides the bibliography attached to his biography as follows: first, he gives a bibliography of Perets’s works in Yiddish and lists here the various “collected works”—editions and separate printings.  When he mentioned the volume Megiles (Scrolls) brought out by B. A. Kletskin, however, he marked it as “the first attempt at an academic edition.”  As for the New York edition of Ale verk fun yitskhok leybush perets (Complete works of Yitskhok Leybush Perets), brought out by the publisher “Yidish” (Yiddish), Reyzen notes that is “less comprehensive” than the Kletskin edition.  He also characterized in just a few words the edition brought out by the publisher “Progres” (Progress) in Warsaw, in partnership with the New York-based “Di internatsyonale biblyotek” (The international library)—this was not a critical analysis of the various editions of Perets’s works.  After the bibliography of Perets’s works in Yiddish comes a section in which are enumerated editions of his writings in Hebrew, Russian, German, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, and Esperanto.  Following this is “Literature about Perets.”  Here Reyzen stresses: “The literature concerning Perets is vast and grows with each passing year, although the majority consists of articles spread through various and sundry periodicals in Yiddish, Hebrew, and other languages as well, in particular from the years after his death and then on the anniversaries of it.”  Reyzen cites the Borokhov bibliography and Arn Gurshteyn’s study which we analyzed above, and he then lists the articles and works concerning Perets according to alphabetical order of the names of the authors.  The bibliography includes the period until 1926.
Four years after the appearance of Arn Gurshteyn’s essay, “Der itstiker tsushtand fun peretses byografye,” he published “Hesofes un oysbeserungen tsu b. borokhovs perets-biblyografye” (Supplements and improvements to B. Borokhov’s Perets bibliography).[9]  This is a masterful and solid piece of work written with knowledge and expertise.  In it Gurshteyn follows Borokhov’s bibliography.  Just as Borokhov had done earlier, Gurshteyn only includes those materials that appeared during Perets’s lifetime.  Gurshteyn uses the same divisions as Borokhov.  He corrects certain errors that cropped up and makes use therein of Borokhov’s enumeration, for example: “to no. 3” and the like.  He adds details to those items that Borokhov merely took note of.  For example, Borokhov jotted down Perets’s Di yudishe biblyotek, but he did not state the names of Perets’s writings which were published in the three issues of Di yudishe biblyotek.  Gurshteyn notes Perets’s works that were published therein.  He also adds 235 items and seventeen emendations.[10]
In 1934 there was published in Kiev: A. Rozentsvayg’s Der radikaler peryod fun peretses shafn, di yontef bletlekh (The radical period in Perets’s writing, Di yontef bletlekh).[11]  This monograph is devoted to Di yontef bletlekh and includes a portion of the material from the Bletlekh.  In addition it has a “Chronology of Perets’s writings until the mid-1890s” (pp. 175-77).  It then features “Notes on contents of Perets’s publications of the mid-1890s” (pp. 178-82).  For this volume, Kalmen Marmor prepared a “Listing of Perets’s work published in the American Arbeter tsaytung [Workers’ newspaper] for the years 1893-1895 under the pen name Pile.”  Fourteen items are identified for the year 1893, seven for 1894, ten for 1895, as well as three items which had been published in Tsukunft in New York in 1893.  This is accompanied by a footnote: “This list is not complete, because we do not possess a full, complete set of Tsukunft at our disposal.”[12]
In 1937 a special Perets issue of Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) 12.1-3 (August-October) was published.  The editorial board explained: “Given the poverty of our literary research and genuine Perets materials, the editorial board of Yivo-bleter finds it necessary to publish important parts of Perets’s treasury, which YIVO has at its disposal, even when, due to the plethora of time and strength, it was not possible to publish material to provide a proper apparatus of text criticism, and the editors had to be satisfied only with the most necessary explanations and notes.”  This special issue included: Perets’s family letters and letters to Yiddish writers; N. Veynig’s “Poylishe lider fun y. l. perets fun yor 1874” (Polish poems by Y. L. Perets from the year 1874); and Menashe Vakser’s “Dos lebn fun a yidishn dikhter” (The life of a Yiddish poet), an analysis Perets’s poem “Ḥaye meshorer ivri” which was published in Sipurim beshir, veshirim shonim in 1877.  The authors of this booklet were Perets and his father-in-law Gavriel-Yude Likhtenfeld.  Vakser takes aim in his work “to distinguish those parts that belong to Perets and those whose author was his father-in-law.”
The same issue of Yivo-bleter includes the following works: Perets’s poem “Di geshmisene emes” (The whipped truth), published from a manuscript and “Der eltster nusekh fun monish” (The oldest version of “Monish”), with an introduction by Zalmen Reyzen; Y. L. Koyen, “Y. l. perets vi a zamler fun yidishe folks-lider” (Y. L. Perets as a collector of folksongs); Shmuel Zaynvl Pipe, “Di zamlungen yidishe folks-lider fun y. l. perets” (The collections of Yiddish folksongs of Y. L. Perets); Perets’s “Dos yidishe lebn loyt di yidishe folks-lider” (Jewish life according to Yiddish folksongs) and an article by him on Koyen’s piece about “Yiddish folksongs”; memoirs of Perets by Moyshe Altberg, Pauline Altberg, Shaye Margolis, Professor S. Dikshteyn, and Y. M. Altman; a newspaper conversation with Perets from 1907; and Nakhmen Mayzil’s article, “Nokhum sokolov vegn y. l. perets” (Naḥum Sokolov on Y. L. Perets).  Also in this Perets issue of Yivo-bleter, Dr. Yankev Shatski published “Hesofes tsu der perets-biblyografye fun borokhov-gurshteyn” (Additions to the Perets bibliography by Borokhov [and] Gurshteyn).  He too confined himself to 1915 as a final year—materials published during Perets’s lifetime.  These additions did not include items that were missing from B. Borokhov and A. Gurshteyn, but had already appeared in Zalmen Reyzen’s Leksikon, vol. 2.  Shatski’s additions consisted of 140 items and were divided into: (1) articles and biographical material concerning Perets; (2) Perets’s writings published in foreign anthologies and journals, in Hebrew and Yiddish; (3) books; (4) works dedicated to Perets; and (5) translations—Polish, German, Russian, iconography (images).[13]  In a section “Referatn un retsenzyes” (Speeches and reviews), Teper reviews A. A. Roback’s English-language book on Perets, Y. Shatski reviews A. Rozentsvayg’s Der radikaler peryod fun peretses shafn, di yontef bletlekh, and Zalmen Reyzen writes about Roza Perets-Laks’s Arum peretsn, zikhroynes un batrakhtungen (Around Perets, memoirs and considerations).  Published in a section entitled “Materyaln un notitsn” (Materials and notices) were: Yoysef Mendelson, “Y. l. perets in shpanish” (Y. L. Perets in Spanish); Elye (Elias) Shulman, “Nekrologn nokh peretsn in der english-yidisher prese” (Necrologies for Perets in the English Yiddish press), a contribution to the Perets bibliography; Meyer Hurvits, “Perets in english” (Perets in English); and a number of short notes, such as “An ankete vegn peretses a verk” (A questionnaire concerning a work by Perets), “Peretses bazukh in kroke un in lemberg in 1907” (Perets’s visit to Cracow and Lemberg in 1907), “Helene frank vegn peretsn” (Helene Frank on Perets), “Perets in holendishn teater” (Perets in the Dutch theater), and a “Nit-oysgeklerter inyen in peretses byografye” (An unclear matter in Perets’s biography).  The notices were written by Dr. Yankev Shatski.  This journal issue closes with Natan Marks’s “An artikl veynik bakant, az s’iz peretses” (An article little known to have been written by Perets).  The majority of the articles in this issue were later, partially and in full, used by various authors.
In 1946 as well there appeared a special Perets issue of Yivo-bleter 25.1 (Autumn).  This collection included: Shmuel Niger, “Y. l. peretses opshtamung, kinder-yorn un yugnt-yorn” (Y. L. Perets’s origins, childhood years, and youth), sections from his book Y. l. perets (Y. L. Perets) which was published later; and Yankev Shatski, “Perets-shtudyes” (Studies of Perets).  On the basis of several sources, he wrote about: “Zamość and Perets”; “Perets and Jewish folklore”; “Legends and facts about the ‘Jewish people’s library’.”  Shatski disagreed with those who argued that Perets penned the article “Bildung” following the instructions of assimilated Jews who supported the “Library.”  Shatski writes: “The well-known article ‘Bildung’ was not imposed upon Perets.  At that time Perets looked on Yiddish as he formulated it in his classical article” (p. 76).  Viktor Erlikh wrote about the influence of Stanisław Wyspiański on Bay nakht afn altn mark, and Shaye Berger authored “Tsu mekoyrim fun folkstimlekhe geshikhtn” (On the sources for Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn [Folktales]).[14]  In the aforementioned article, Shatski cited a study by D. Kurland on the same topic which appeared in Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) (1940), p. 64.  Yudel Mark analyzes “Peretses loshn” (Perets’s language);[15] and Dr. Meylekh Khmelnitski describes Perets’s popular medical pamphlet.  A highly important bibliography is Eliezer-Refoel Malachi’s “Perets in hebreish” (Perets in Hebrew).  His listing is divided as follows: (a) books written initially in Hebrew; (b) writings in newspapers and journals initially written in Hebrew; (c) letters written in Hebrew; (d) Perets’s own translations from other languages into Hebrew; (e) translations into Hebrew by others.  The second part of Malachi’s bibliography was published in Yivo-bleter 34 (1950), pp. 221-30.  This portion is concerned with literature about Perets in Hebrew.  E. R. Malachi labeled his bibliography “Additions and supplements to the Perets bibliography.”  He included only works that were earlier noted by Borokhov, Gurshteyn, and Shatski.  Malachi writes: “All the material in the bibliography is new, not mentioned in any of the prior Perets bibliographies, but I have made an exception for three of Perets’s feature pieces which were published in Hatsofe (The spectator), because the image of Perets’s cooperation with this serial should be complete.”  The third part of Malachi’s Perets bibliography was published in Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 355-61.  He submitted that several items were missing from the earlier bibliographies, and he enumerated the articles and assessments that were published on the centenary of Perets’s birth.  The bibliography was compiled according to the order of the earlier lists.  For a number of items, Malachi added important footnotes.  In the same issue, pp. 63-81, there is an essay by him, entitled “Y. l. perets in hatsofe” (Y. L. Perets in Hatsofe).  He offered here a fundamental critical analysis of Perets’s works that were published in the daily Hebrew newspaper Hatsofe over the years 1903-1905, with an interruption of one year.[16]  In the section of “Speeches and reviews,” Dr. Yankev Shatski reviewed: Nakhmen Mayzil, Y. l. perets, zayn lebn un shafn, ophandlungen un materyaln (Y. L. Perets, his life and work, treatises and materials) (New York, 1945), 368 pp.; Mayzil, ed., Briv un redes (Letters and speeches) (Vilna, 1929), 302 pp.; and Zalmen Zilbertsvayg’s Teater-heft (Theater notebook), vol. 10 (on Perets).  It also included: Shatski, “Umbakante briv fun y. l. peretsn” (Unknown letters from Y. L. Perets); Leon Gotlib, “Perets af a geheymer farzamlung in 1898” (Perets at a secret meeting in 1898); Shatski, “Zikhroynes vegn peretses batsiungen mit yidishe pepeesovtses” (Memories of Perets’s ties to Jewish members of the Polish Socialist Party)[17]; Sh. N. (Niger), “N. Sokolov tsu peretses 25-yoriken yoyvl” (N. Sokolov at Perets’s twenty-fifth jubilee); Niger, “Perets un sokolov” (Perets and Sokolov); Rokhl Vishnitser, “Perets in a krayzl varshever gimnazistkes” (Perets in a circle of Warsaw high school students); the notice “Vegn di rekht af peretses ksovim in amerike” (On the rights to Perets’s writings in America) was unsigned; M. Rivesman, “Perets in a diskusye vegn kheyder” (Perets in a discussion about religious elementary school), a notice; Adolf Peretts, “Bagegenishn mit peretsn, a protest kegn peretses politish-gezelshaftlekher tetikeyt” (Meetings with Perets, a protest against Perets’s political and community activities); the notices, “Y. l. perets in apt” (Y. L. Perets in Apt [Opatów]) and “Peretses a rede vegn yidisher geshikhte in poyln” (A speech by Perets on Jewish history in Poland); Shatski, “Peretses arbet far dem groysfirsht nikolay mikhaylovitsh” (Perets’s work for Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich); a notice, “A bamerkung vegn peretses privater biblyotek” (An observation about Perets’s private library); M. K., “Vegn peretses letste teg un zayn levaye” (On Perets’s last days and his funeral); Anon., “Der ershter perets-yortsayt in Petrograd” (The first anniversary of Perets’s death in Petrograd); Z. Shaykovski, “A perets-teater in pariz” (A Perets theater in Paris) (1915); Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, “Peretses pyeses af hebreish” (Perets’s play in Hebrew); and Anon., “Fir bikhlekh vegn peretsn” (Four booklets about Perets) (Vilna, 1940).  In this last notice, it was noted that in Vilna in 1940 four notebooks under the general title, Y. l. perets in likht fun yidisher kritik (Y. L. Perets in light of Yiddish criticism), were published.  In these volumes were republished articles and essays on Perets by: Shmuel Niger, Borekh Vladek, Maks Erik, Bal-Makhshoves, Sholem-Aleichem, H. D. Nomberg, Leo Kenig, A. Litvak, Y. Y. Trunk, Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, Avrom Reyzen, Vladimir Medem, and Moyshe Litvakov.  The journal issue closes with Z. Z. (Zalmen Zilbertsvayg), “Peretses a drame mit dray nemen” (A play by Perets with three names); “Bilder fun y. l. peretsn” (Images of Y. L. Perets); “Poylishe iberzetsungen fun y. l. perets” (Polish translations of Y. L. Perets); “Perets-numer fun an english-yidishn zhurnal” (A Perets issue of an English Jewish journal); “Der tsvey-fakhiker perets-band fun yivo” (The double Perets volume from YIVO); and “Profesor yoysef kloyzners zikhroynes vegn perets” (Professor Yosef Klausner’s memoirs concerning Perets).  This notes where Klausner’s book Darki likrat hateḥiya vehageula (My path to revival and redemption) mentions Perets.  All the material laid out here is extremely important for Perets’s biography.  Shmuel Niger used a great deal of it for his volume on Perets—other parts will certainly be used for further research on Perets.[18]
A portion of Yivo-bleter 36 (1952) is devoted to Perets.  Yankev Shatski writes about “Haskole in zamoshtsh” (The Jewish Enlightenment in Zamość), a fully documented article, describing the spiritual environs in the city in the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries.  The author analyzes the political and geographical factors that enabled Zamość to become a center for the Enlightenment.  In the course of this piece, he uses Perets’s writings as a source.  He also writes about the people whom Perets mentions in his memoirs.  We earlier noted E. R. Malachi’s “Y. l. perets in hatsofe.”  Malachi discusses Perets’s feature pieces on topics of the day and his polemical articles against Ruvn Brainin and Dovid Frishman.  Meylekh Ravitsh writes about “Farsheydene oysgabes fun y. l. peretses gezamlte un geklibene verk” (Various editions of Y. L. Perets’s Collected and Selected Works).  Ravitsh considers: (a) the jubilee edition of 1901 (954 pp.), republished in New York by the Hebrew Publishing Co.; (b) the “Progres” edition of 1908 in 10 volumes (3000 pp.), a portion of which was republished by the “International Library” in New York; (c) the “Yidish” edition in New York in 1920, 13 volumes (3884 pp.); (d) the Kletskin edition in Vilna in 1925-1929, 20 volumes (5145 pp.); (e) the “Morgn frayhayt” (Morning freedom) edition in New York in 1920, 15 volumes (3300 pp.), incomplete; (f) the “Yidish” edition in Buenos Aires in 1944, 18 volumes (4530 pp.); and (g) the Tsiko (Central Yiddish Cultural Organization) edition in New York in 1946, 11 volumes (4424 pp.).  In addition, Ravitsh mentions several editions of selected writings, such as: Geklibene dertseylungen (Selected stories), 2 volumes (Winnipeg, 1942); and Avrom Frumkin, ed., Di akhte opteylung in gehenem un andere ertseylungen (The eighth section of hell and other stories) (London, 1907), 103 pp., Frumkin’s translations from Perets’s Hebrew writings.  This material is included in Perets’s Far kleyn un groys (For young and old).  As Ravitsh demonstrates, Perets made use of Frumkin’s translation.  Ravitsh notes also the two-volume edition put out by “Der emes” (The truth) in Moscow (but published in Vilna) of 1941, compiled by Rivke Rubin with a preface—728 pp.  This same edition was republished by “Yidish bukh” (Yiddish book) in Warsaw in 1951.  He missed the Moscow edition of Geklibene verk which came out in 1925, with forewords by Moyshe Litvakov and Yitskhok Nusinov.  This edition is quite important.  In the first place, included in this edition are those works by Perets which played to the official Soviet approach to Perets.  Second, the collection was used as a textbook in all Soviet Yiddish pedagogical technical school and several universities (Minsk, Odessa, Kharkov) and in the studio of the Moscow Yiddish State Theater; thus, thousands of Jewish students in the Soviet Union were educated with this edition of his works.  Ravitsh also offers characterizations of the various editions in his essay.  He shows their advantages and disadvantages.  And he also takes into consideration the various Hebrew-language editions of Perets’s works, and formulates a plan “for an ideal and definitive edition.”
Since Meylekh Ravitsh wrote up his treatment, the following new editions have been published: (a) Oysgeveylte shriftn (Selected writings) (Bucharest: State Publishers for Literature and Art, 1958), 687 pp.; (b) In keler-shtub, dertseylungen (In a basement apartment, stories), comp., Rivke Rubin (Moscow: State Publishers for Artistic Literature, 1959), 438 pp.; (c) A. Golomb, ed., Geklibene dertseylungen, third edition (Mexico City: Fun kval, 1945/1946), 3 volumes; (d) Y. l. perets in 19tn yorhundert, lider, dertseylungen, eseyen (Y. L. Perets in the nineteenth century, poems, stories, essays), ed. Shmuel Rozhanski (Buenos Aires, 1962), 268 pp.; (e) Y. l. perets, in tsvantsikstn yorhundert, lider, dertseylungen, eseyen (Y. L. Perets in the twentieth century, poems, stories, essays), ed. Shmuel Rozhanski (Buenos Aires: Lifshits Fund, 1962), 269 pp.  Meylekh Ravitsh mentions the edition brought out by “Yidish bukh” (Warsaw, 1951), which is a reprint of the Moscow two-volume edition of 1941.  He shows that added to the Warsaw edition was a preface by Ber Mark, that it was printed in the traditional orthography for Hebrew words [rather than in Soviet Yiddish orthography (JAF)], and that they omitted several items.  Since publishing this edition, “Yidish bukh” released three further volumes bearing the general title Oysgeveylte verk (Selected works): vol. 3 (Warsaw, 1951), 498 pp. (including “Di tsayt” [The times], “Odem vekhave” [Adam and Eve], “Far kleyn un groys” [For young and old], “Bilder un skitsn” [Images and sketches], “Alt un nay” [Old and new], and “Geshikhtn un stsenes” [Stories and scenes]); vol. 4, part 1 (Warsaw, 1955), 200 pp. (contents: Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn); vol. 5, part 2 (this must be an error of the publisher, as it must be vol. 4, part 2) (Warsaw, 1958), 204 pp. (contents: Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn).
In the same volume of Yivo-bleter, a letter from Perets to Dovid Pinski from 1893 was published, as well as speeches and reviews concerning works in connection with Perets.  Shatski reported on a manuscript by Perets that is held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem which includes an unpublished story “Hanekama” (The vengeance) and other materials.[19]  Shatski also reported on Nakhmen Mayzil’s Yitskhok-leybush perets un zayn dor shrayber (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets and his generation of writers) (New York: IKUF, 1951), 404 pp., and Moyshe Shtarkman did the same for the new Hebrew edition of Perets’s works, translated by Shimshon Meltser.  Ada Boreysho-Fogel reviewed four editions of Perets’s works in English, and Yankev Shatski offered an entire section of Peretsiana—very important materials—which were never used before.  Also reprinted were Perets’s reviews that were published in Haynt and not as yet republished in book form.  This same journal issue contained: E. R. Malachi’s supplements to “Perets in hebreish.”  He also wrote about Sh. Meltser’s Hebrew edition in the English-language program book for the Perets celebrations, published in New York by the Jewish Welfare Board.  There are important items in F. Lachower’s books: Toldot hasifrut haivrit haadasha (History of modern Hebrew literature), vol. 3, part 2 (Tel Aviv, 1938), pp. 42-70, and “Bibliography,” pp. 215-17; and Rishonim veaaronim (The earlier and the later ones), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1934), pp. 101-19.  (The same essay [that comprises this section of his book] was published earlier in his Mekarim venisyonot [Research and tests], vol. 1 [Warsaw, 1925], pp. 95-105.)  See also Yosef Klausner, Yotsrim ubonim (Creators and builders) (Jerusalem, 1928/1929).  The same journal issue contains Y. Yeshurin’s Perets bibliography, as well as a list of other Perets bibliographies that Yeshurin had published: (1) “Zikhroynes vegn peretsn” (Memories about Perets), Yivo-bleter (New York) 28 (Autumn 1946), pp. 165-70; (2) “Forsherishe un byografishe arbetn vegn peretsn, 1951-1952” (Research and biographical works about Perets, 1950-1951), Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 352-55; (3) “Y. l. perets” (Y. L. Perets), articles written about him on the American continent, Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education) (New York) (1945); (4) “Artiklen geshribn vegn y. l. peretsn afn amerikaner continent” (Articles written about Y. L. Perets on the American continent), Tsukunft (New York) (1945), pp. 277-80; (5) “Bikher un bikhlekh vegn y. l. perets” (Books and booklets about Y. L. Perets), Pinkes zamoshtsh (Records of Zamość) (Buenos Aires) (1957), pp. 511-17; (6) “Yitskhok-leybush perets-biblyografye” (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets bibliography), which is sub-divided as follows: (a) “Bikher un broshurn in yidish un hebreish vegn y. l. perets” (Books and pamphlets in Yiddish and Hebrew about Y. L. Perets); (b) “Bikher un broshurn vegn yitskhok-leybush perets in fremd-shprakhn” (Books and pamphlets about Yitskhok-Leybush Perets in foreign languages); (c) individual items by writers in books about Y. L. Perets; and (d) about Y. L. Perets in foreign language books.  This work was published in the aforecited Y. l. perets, in tsvantsikstn yorhundert, pp. 255-69, and came out as an offprint, 16 pp. in length (Buenos Aires, 1962).  In Y. Yeshurin’s volume 100 yor moderne yidishe literatur, biblyografisher tsushteyer (100 years of modern Yiddish literature, bibliographical contribution) (New York, 1965), p. 602, he mentions the earlier Perets bibliographies and recounts that his Perets bibliography was in press.  It is mentioned on p. 614 that in his archive he has 9449 items by Perets, and this is in addition to his published Perets indexes.  Yeshurin thus enumerates a huge volume of material on Perets.  His bibliography, however, suffers from his not having designated the content, and the items are not marked in any way.[20]  In his bibliographical handbook, Mafteaḥ ha-mafteḥot (Index of indexes) (Jerusalem, 1965), Shlomo Shunami notes, in addition to the lists we have already mentioned, other Perets bibliographies: (1) Nakhmen Mayzil, “Biblyografishe reshime fun verk geshribn vegn perets” (Bibliographical listing of works written about Perets), Bikher velt (Book world) (Kiev) (1919), Shunami no. 4068; (2) “Perets in farsheydene shprakhn” (Perets in various languages), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) (Warsaw) 49-50 (1925), Shunami no. 4069; (3) “Perets in di literarishe bleter” (Perets in Literarishe bleter) (Warsaw, 1935), p. 267; (4) “Artiklen, lider, bilder vegn y. l. perets in der yidisher kultur, 1938-1950” (Articles, poems, and images of Y. L. Perets in Yidishe kultur, 1938-1950), Yidishe kulture (Jewish culture) (New York) (1951), p. 1, Shunami no. 4088; (5) A. B-Graf, “Bikher un bikhlekh vegn y. l. perets fun 1916 biz 1950” (Books and booklets concerning Y. L. Perets from 1916 to 1950), Yidishe kultur 3 (1952), Shunami no. 4089;[21] (6) Nakhmen Mayzil, “Di perets-biblyografye” (The Perets bibliography), concerned with the Perets bibliography and Mayzil’s research which will become a speech later, Shunami no. 4090; (7) Nakhmen Mayzil, “Bibliografiya al perets” (Bibliography of Perets), Shunami no. 4093; (8) Lahad E., “Umbakante drukn fun perets-shafungen” (Unknown publishers of Perets’s works), Undzer vort (Our word) (Buenos Aires) 154 (1963), Shunami no. 4095;[22] (9) “Dos lebn un shafn fun y. l. perets” (The life and work of y. l. perets), with bio-bibliographical details, Pinkes zamoshtsh, Shunami no. 4721; (10) Uriel Weinreich, “Guide to English Translations of Yitskhok Leybush Peretz,” in his The Field of Yiddish (New York, 1954), pp. 292-99, Shunami no. 4092; (11) Uriel Weinreich, “Index of English Translation of over 250 Stories, Novels, Plays and Poems by Sholem Aleichem and Y. L. Peretz” (New York, 1955), 22 pp., Shunami no. 4149.[23]
Nakhmen Mayzil devoted an enormous amount of attention to research on Perets.  In 1931 he published in Warsaw Y. l. perets, zayn lebn un shafn (240 pp.); a second edition entitled Y. l. perets, zayn lebn un shafn, ophandlungen un materyal came out in New York in 1945 (368 pp.).  A little earlier he published Briv un redes (Warsaw, 1929); a second, enlarged edition entitled Briv un redes fun y. l. perets (Letters and speeches of Y. L. Perets) appeared in New York in 1944 (415 pp.).[24]  In his book, Tsurikblikn un perspektivn (Retrospectives and perspectives) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), 545 pp., there is material on Perets as well.  Mayzil also published Forgeyer un mittsaytler (Forerunner and contemporary) (New York, 1946), 431 pp., which contains a chapter on Perets (pp. 101-16) and in which Perets is mentioned numerous times.  He also compiled an anthology: Y. l. perets in der yidisher dikhtung (Y. L. Perets in Yiddish poetry) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1965), 222 pp.  This collection encompasses work by seventy-six poets.  Also valuable for Perets research is Mayzil’s Yitskhok-leybush perets un zayn dor shrayber (404 pp.).[25]  The author points to the connections between Perets and Mendele, Sholem-Aleichem, Frishman, Sokolov, Bialik, Yehoash, and others.  In an article, “Peretses briv” (Perets’s letters), he lists forty-four letters of Perets’s which were not included in his Perets collection.  There is in addition a chapter, “Ven falt oys y. l. peretses 100ster geboyrntog” (When will the centenary of Perets’s birth take place), in which he discusses the problem of the date of Perets’s birth.  The last of these is a fundamental issue dealt with by the Israeli scholar Y. A. Klausner in his “Matai nolad y. l. perets” (When was Y. L. Perets born?).[26]  In his chapter “Di perets-biblyografye,” Mayzil offers a survey of the matter.  In addition, he offers a list of books and anthologies concerning Perets.  We present here the list of anthologies: Tsum ondenk fun y. l. perets, tsu zayn finf-yorikn yortsayt (To the memory of Y. L. Perets, on the fifth anniversary of his death) (Odessa: Yiddish section, Gubnarobraz [District Office of Education], April 1920), 32 large pp.—containing: Y. Eydelman, “Tsvishn tsvey berg” (Between two mountains); B. Eplboym, “Undzerer” (Our own); A. Kaganovski, “Baym tsukopns (iberlebung)” (At bedside, an experience); M. Yofe, a poem; V. Landoy, “Der riter fun tsufal” (The knight of chance); Y. L. Perets, “Di tsvey brider (fun fremdn khupe-kleyd)” (The two brothers, from “Strange Wedding Gown”); A. Shteynman, “Y. l. perets (oysn hebreishn)” (Y. L. Perets, Hebrew aside); M. Spektor, “In tsentn pavilion (fun mayne zikhroynes)” (In the tenth pavilion, from my memoirs); Viktor, “Di froy bay peretsn” (Perets’s wife); A. Y., “Zayn eydlste makhshove” (The most refined thought); “Peretses gedanken un aforizmen” (Perets’s thoughts and aphorisms); “Vegn perets (oysgabn un kritik)” (On Perets, editions and critics).  There is also: Y. l. perets, zamlung tsu zayn 7tn yortsayt (Y. L. Perets, anthology for the seventh anniversary of his death) (Minsk: Kultur-lige, 1922), 64 pp.—containing: A. Frankfurt, “Perets der frayhayts-dikhter (anstot a hakdome)” (Perets, the poet of freedom, in place of a preface); L. Kvitko, “Y. l. perets (lid)” (Y. L. Perets, a poem); Dovid Bergelson, “Revolutsyonerer gayst” (Revolutionary spirit); Bal-Dimyen, “Di fon” (The banner); Uri Finkel, “Perets und der arbeter” (Perets and the laborer); Zelik Akselrod, “Peretsn (lid)” (For Perets, a poem); and Yiddish critics and writers on Perets.  Another: Y. l. perets in likht fun yidisher kritik (Vilna: Tsisho, 1940), 232 pp.—containing: articles, fragments, and longer works by Bal-Makhshoves, Shmuel Niger, Sholem-Aleichem, H. D. Nomberg, Y. Y. Trunk, Avrom Reyzen, Leo Kenig, Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, V. Medem, Maks Erik, M. Litvakov, Sh. Epshteyn, B. Vladek, Bal-Dimyen, Yehoash, N. Oyslender, Dovid Bergelson, Beynish Mikhalevitsh, and Sh. An-ski, among others.  Another: Y. l. perets far yugnt, heft 1, aroysgegebn tsum 25stn yortsayt funem dikhter (Y. L. Perets for youth, vol. 1, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of the poet), “baveglekhe khrestomatye” (movable reader), comp. Shloyme Bastomski (Vilna: Grininke beymelekh, 1940), 16 pp.—containing: “Y. l. perets, der zinger, der ziger” (Y. L. Perets, the singer, the victor); A. Reyzen, “On a sof, tsum ondenk fun y. l. perets” (Without ending, to the memory of Y. L. Perets); H. D. Nomberg, “Der ruf fun friling” (The call of spring); “Di ershte bagegenish fun avrom Reyzen mit y. l. perets” (The first meeting between Avrom Reyzen and Y. L. Perets); Sholem Asch, “Perets der rebe” (Perets, the teacher); and a letter from Y. L. Perets (from Nakhmen Mayzil’s anthology).  One more: Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) (Kiev) (October 1940)—a large part of this issue is devoted to Y. L. Perets and his works, including poems about Perets by Dovid Hofshteyn, A. Gortar, and M. Hartsman; treatments by A. Yuditski, Shakhne Epshteyn, Noyekh Lurye, D. Kurland, B. Slutski, Sh. Shneyfal, and Kh. Nodel; there is also here a translation of Perets’s “urbn bet tsadik” (Destruction of the saint’s home)—the first variant take from Di goldene keyt (from Hebrew by A. Yuditski).
Works about Perets include: 1. Shakhne Epshteyn, Y. l. perets als sotsyaler dikhter (Y. L. Perets as a social poet) (New York: Maks N. Mayzil, 1916), 72 pp.—republished under the title Dos arbets-folk in y. l. peretses verk (Working people in the poetry of Y. L. Perets) (Ekaterinoslav: Di velt, 1918); 2. Dr. Gershon Levin, Perets, a bisl zikhroynes (Perets, a few memories) (Warsaw: Yehudiya, 1919), 125 pp.; 3. Hersh-Dovid Nomberg, A literarisher dor, a bisl zikhroynes vegn y. l. perets (A literary generation, a few memories of Y. L. Perets) (Warsaw: Gayst, 1919), 16 pp.; 4. Mortkhe Spektor, Mit y. l. perets in festung (With Y. L. Perets in the Citadel prison) (Odessa: Literatur, 1919), 80 pp.—reprinted in Tsukunft (1922); 5. Zalmen Reyzen, Yitskhok-leybush perets, zayn lebn un zayn verk (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets, his life and his work), “biblyotek grininke beymelekh” (Little green trees library) (Vilna: Tsisho, 1921), 38 pp.; 6. M. Shveyd, Mit peretsn (With Perets) (New York: Verbe, 1923), 48 pp.; 7. Maks Erik, Konstruktsye-shtudyen, tsu der konstruktsye fun der goldene keyt, fun baynakht afn altn mark, batrakhtungen vegn patos (Construction studies, on the construction of Di goldene keyt [The golden chain] and Baynakht afn altn mark [At night in the old marketplace], thought about pathos) (Warsaw: Arbeter heym, 1924), 68 pp.; 8. Nakhmen Mayzil, ed., Briv un redes, compiled and translated, with introductions and notes (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1929), 302 pp.—including 180 letters, the earliest from 1888; 9. H. D. Nomberg, Mentshn un verk, y. l. perets (People and works, Y. L. Perets) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1930), 108 pp.; 10. Yekhezkl Kornhendler, Vuhin firt undz y. l. perets? (Where is Perets taking us?) (Paris: Oyfgang, 1930), 76 pp.; 11. Arn Mark, Peretses “goldene keyt,” inhalt-analiz, ideen un geshtaltn, geneze un konstruktsye (Perets’s Goldene keyt, content analysis, ideas, and images, genesis and construction) (Svencionys: Biblyotek hilf, 1930), 87 pp.; 12. Nakhmen Mayzil, Y. l. perets, zayn lebn un shafn (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1931), vol. 1, 240 pp.; 13. F. Diner, Di vortslen fun peretses shafn, a pruv fun a marksistisher baloykhtung (The roots of Perets’s works, an attempt at a Marxist elucidation) (Warsaw, 1934), 100 pp.; 14. A. Rozenstvayg, Der radikaler peryod fun peretses shafn, di yontef bletlekh, textual selections and a literary historical preface (Kharkov-Kiev: State publishers for national minorities, Ukrainian S. S. R., 1934), 188 pp.; 15. Kopl Dua, Yitskhok-leybush perets (Warsaw: Groshn biblyotek, no. 213, 1935), 64 pp.; 16. Kopl Dua, Yitskhok-leybush perets (Warsaw: Groshn biblyotek, no. 214, 1935), pp. 65-126; 17. Roza Perets-Laks, Arum peretsn, zikhroynes un batrakhtungen (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1935), 68 pp.; 18. Menashe Vakser, Dos lebn fun a yidishn dikhter, offprint from Yivo-bleter (1937), 55 pp.; 19. B. Y. Byalostotski, Y. l. perets, tsum finef un tsvantsikstn yortsayt (1852-1915) (Y. L. Perets on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death, 1852-1915) (New York: Tsiko, 1940), 24 pp.; 20. Moyshe Kats, Yitskhok-leybush perets (New York: International Labor Order, 1940), 36 pp.; 21. A. Y. Zakuski, Y. l. perets (Buenos Aires: Book community of the Jewish rational society, 1942), 64 pp.; 22. Nakhmen Mayzil, Briv un redes fun y. l. perets, compiled and translated with a preface and explanation (New York: IKUF, 1944), 416 pp.—containing 305 letters dating from 1874 to 1915; 23. Nakhmen Mayzil, Y. l. perets, zayn lebn un shafn, ophandlungen un materyal (Y. L. Perets, his life and work, treatises and material) (New York, 1945). 368 pp.—a second, enlarged and expanded edition; 24. H. D. Nomberg, Y. l. perets (Buenos Aires: Central Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, 1946), 115 pp.—reprinted from the Warsaw edition of 1930, with the articles in this edition laid out in a different chronological order; 25. Yoysef Volf, Leyendik peretsn (Reading Perets) (Buenos Aires: Central Association of Polish Jews in Argentina, vol. 35, 1948), 99 pp.; 26. Y. Y. Trunk, Poyln, zikhroynes un bilder (Poland, memories and images), vol. 5 (“Perets”) (New York: Unzer tsayt, 1949), pp. 15-222 dedicated to Y. L. Perets; 27. Dr. A. Mukdoni, Yitskhok-leybush perets un dos yidishe teater (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets and the Yiddish theater) (New York: IKUF, 1949), 272 pp.; 28. Dr. L. Zhitnitski, Y. l. perets, filozofish un sotsyal (Y. L. Perets, philosophical and social) (Buenos Aires: H. D. Nomberg Yiddish Literary and Journalistic Association, 1950), 160 pp.; 29. Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, Yitskhok-leybush perets (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets), articles and speeches (New York: IKUF, 1951), 48 pp., with a preface “to the reader” by N. Mayzil; 30. Chone Shmeruk, Peretses yiesh-vizye, interpretatsye fun y. l. peretses bay nakht afn altn mark un kritishe oysgabe fun der drame (Perets’s vision of despair, interpretation of Perets’s “At Night in the Old Marketplace” and a critical edition of the drama) (New York: YIVO, 1971), 362 pp.  A number of the books by Mayzil we have already noted above, others here, among them the Petrograd collection Y. l. perets, tsum yortsayt, which appeared on the first anniversary of his death in 1916.[27]  Since Mayzil compiled this listing, there has appeared Shmuel Niger’s book Y. l. perets, zayn lebn, zayn firndike perzenlekhkeyt (Y. L. Perets, his life, his leading personality) (Buenos Aires: Argentinian division of the World Jewish Culture Congress, 1951), 568 pp.[28]; and Mark Shveyd’s Treyst mayn folk, dos lebn fun y. l. perets (Console my people, the life of Y. L. Perets) (New York: Farlag Perets, 1955), 308 pp.[29]
Among the important materials that have been published concerning Y. L. Perets in recent years, we must note the issue of Di goldene keyt devoted to Perets—including the following items: Dovid Pinski, “Dray yor y. l. perets” (Three years [in the life of] Y. L. Perets); Y. Fikhman, “A vort vegn perets” (A word about Perets); Shmuel Niger, “Y. l. peretses lebn nohkn toyt” (Y. L. Perets’s life after death); Sholem Asch, “Y. l. perets” (Y. L. Perets); Yitskhok Dov Berkovitsh, “Af peretses literarishe donershtiks” (At Perets’s literary Thursdays);[30] Tsvi Bikl-Shpitser, “Di heroishe motivn in peretses shafn” (The heroic motifs in Perets’s writings); Joachim Stutshevski, “Perets in der muzik” (Perets in music); and Yoyel Mastboym, “Perets in a pogrom-shtot” (Perets in a pogrom city).  It is also worthy of note that a work by Zelik Kalmanovitsh, which he wrote in the Vilna ghetto, “Y. l. peretses kuk af der yidisher literatur” (Y. L. Perets’s view of Yiddish literature), was published in Di goldene keyt 2 (Spring 1949), pp. 114-26.[31]  Furthermore, in various issues of Di goldene keyt, the following valuable studies have appeared.  Moyshe Ungerfeld, “Materyaln vegn peretsn” (Materials concerning Perets), 52 (1965), pp. 229-65.  The author writes about Perets and Bialik and introduces two letters by Perets to Bialik and Ravnitski.  He thus provides a rare image of Perets and Bialik in Warsaw in 1904.  This is followed by a note entitled “Perets un tsienizm” (Perets and Zionism) which recounts a reply Perets gave to a question as to just what was Perets’s relationship to Zionism.  Perets’s answer was, according to Ungerfeld: “A kind of synthesis of cultural-spiritual Zionism, of Dubnov’s autonomism, and of Pryłucki’s folkism.”  He then places a four-line Hebrew poem by Perets with his own Russian translation.  The same issue of Di goldene keyt featured Khave Turnyanski’s “Di gilgulim fun y. l. peretses monish” (The metamorphoses of Y. L. Perets’s “Monish”).  This is a foundational and masterful work on the textual variants of Perets’s celebrated creation.  Also highly valuable is Chone Shmeruk’s “Der brunem-gets in peretses ‘bay nakht afn altn mark’” (The well figurine in Perets’s Bay nakht afn altn mark) which constitutes a chapter from a longer work on Perets’s dramas.[32]  Highly important material may be found in the catalogue from the Perets exhibition organized by library of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (October 1965).[33]  This work offers descriptions of all the works in the exhibition—books, pamphlets, theater programs, placards, pictures, and the like.[34]
On Perets’s connections with the theater and drama, there is a wealth of material in the various bibliographies we have mentioned above.  Also available is A. Mukdoni’s “Yitskhok-leybush perets un dos yidishe teater” (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets and the Yiddish theater) which appears in Nakhmen Mayzil’s list in the bibliography compiled by Y. Yeshurin.  Zalmen Zilbertsvayg published Teater heft (Theater notebook) 10 “Y. l. perets” (Y. L. Perets), which he later included in his Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 3 (New York, 1959), pp. 1897-2076.  This detailed study has lists of Perets’s plays which were published in Yiddish, Polish, French, Hungarian, German, English, and Spanish, and with a rich bibliography.  “Collected in this notebook,” noted Y. Shatski, “with great diligence are numerous materials connected to Perets the playwright and theater enthusiast.”[35]
Also, in the Moscow Yiddish journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), important materials concerning Perets have been published.  We note here: Arn Raskin, “A bletl perets-publitsistik” (A leaflet of Perets journalism) (January 1965)—a survey of his feature pieces in Hatsofe (January 1904-January 1905); and “A briv fun y. l. perets tsu yisroel tsinberg” (A letter from Y. L. Perets to Yisroel Tsinberg) 3 (March 1965)—the letter was published in the aforementioned collection of Nakhmen Mayzil, Briv un redes, second edition (New York, 1944), pp. 321-22, but here we have explanatory notes and corrections by Professor Hillel Aleksandrov; Oyzer Holdes, “Undzer perets” (Our Perets) 4 (April 1965), pp. 128-35—a polemic with Bal-Makhshoves’s essay on Perets which was published in the Petrograd anthology Tsum ershtn yortsayt fun y. l. perets (1916) and a discussion of Perets’s realism and the linkage between Perets and Soviet Yiddish literature; Yisroel Serebriani, an important contribution to Perets research, 5 (May 1965), pp. 130-32; a report on a scholarly series dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of Perets’s death held in Moscow in July 1945, abstracts of speeches given by Mikhoels, Nokhum Oyslender, Rivke Rubin, Dovid Bergelson, Elye Falkovitsh, and A. Lev; Hersh Remenik, “Y. l. perets un sholem-aleykhem” (Y. L. Perets and Sholem-Aleichem), a literary-historical essay, in the same issue, pp. 133-38—connections between the two classic authors of Yiddish literature and the conflict [see above] over “Monish”; Khatskl Nadel, “Tsu der perets-biblyografye” (For the Perets bibliography), same issue, pp. 140-41—as to when Perets’s first book appeared in Russian, concerning Perets’s first visit to Odessa, the start of Perets’s struggle against clericalism, and two Russian translations of a poem by Perets;[36] Hersh Remenik, “Y. l. perets un sholem-aleykhem” (conclusion), 6 (June 1965), pp. 141-45—the conclusion of the article begun in the previous issue, a polemic between Perets and Sholem-Aleichem over Perets’s “Yidish biblyotek,” two writers, two writing styles, a summation; Elye Spivak, “Perets un di yidishe literarishe shprakh” (Perets and the Yiddish literary language), 7 (July 1965), pp. 138-45—a portion of a work that the murdered philologist bequeathed on how Perets began to write in Yiddish, Perets and the language question, and Perets’s style; Nokhum Oyslender, “Peretses poemes” (Perets’s poetry), 8 (August 1965), pp. 145-52—a critical analysis of Perets’s poetry in a discussion of the variant texts of “Monish”;[37] Shiye Lubomirski, “Y. l. perets un der yidisher teater” (Y. L. Perets and the Yiddish theater), 11 (November 1965), pp. 146-50—Perets’s work on behalf of an artistic Yiddish theater and on the production of Perets’s drama in the Soviet Union; Hersh Remenik, “Polemishe notitsn” (Polemical notices), 2 (February 1966), pp. 148-55—a discussion concerning Mikhl Mirski’s article in Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) (Warsaw) (October 1965) in which Remenik is accused of underestimating Perets.
As for Perets in Hebrew, among the Hebrew-language works which have appeared in print since the appearance of E. R. Malachi’s bibliographies, we have: Avraham Shaanan, Milon hasifrut haadasha haivrit vehakelalit (Dictionary of modern Hebrew and general literature) (Tel Aviv, 1959), pp. 654-58—Perets’s biography and a note on the editions of Perets’s works in Hebrew and Yiddish; Avraham Shaanan, Hasifrut haivrit haadasha lizeramenha (Modern Hebrew literature and its currents), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv: Masada, 1962), pp. 205-24—the author discusses Perets’s romanticism and realism, his attachment to the Jewish Enlightenment, Perets between Hebrew and Yiddish, Hassidism in his folktales, and he provides a short bibliography of work in Hebrew on Perets (p. 224); Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967)—Perets’s biography (pp. 693-700) with a bibliography of Yiddish and Hebrew sources.
In Hebrew we also have translations from Yiddish works: N. Mayzil, Sefer y. l. perets (Volume on Y. L. Perets), trans. Mordechai alamish (Meravya, 1960), 440 pp.; Sh. Niger, Y. l. perets veyetsirato (Y. L. Perets and his creations), trans. Shimshon Meltser (Tel Aviv, 1961).[38]
As for works on Perets in English, we noted above Meyer Hurvits’s and Uriel Weinreich’s bibliographies of works on Perets in English.  We shall list here as well a number of works that have been cited in the bibliographies and some that have not: A. A. Roback, I. L. Perets, Psychologist of Literature (Cambridge, MA: Sci-Art Publishers, 1935), 457 pp.;[39] A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940), chapter IV, pp. 521-741 (about Perets); Maurice Schwartz, Prince of the Ghetto (Philadelphia, 1948), 294 pp. (a work about Perets); Sol Liptzin, The Flowering of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1963), chapter VIII, pp. 98-116; Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg, eds., Treasury of Yiddish Stories (New York, 1956), selected characteristic works by Perets, translations of nine stories; Joseph Leftwich, comp., trans., and ed., The Golden Peacock (New York, 1961), pp. 64-82, with notes on Perets and translations from “Monish,” “Di dray naytorins” (The three seamstresses), “Di tsvey brider,” and excerpts from Di goldene keyt and Bay nakht afn altn mark; Tehilla Feinerman, trans., The Three Canopies (New York: Shoulson Press, 1948), 128 pp.; Elly T. Margolis, trans., As Once We Were: Selections from the Works of I. L. Peretz (Los Angeles: Acme Press, 1951), 270 pp.; Henry Goodman, trans., Three Gifts and Other Stories (New York: Book League, 1947), 99 pp.;[40] Nathan and Marynn Ausubel, A Treasury of Jewish Poetry (New York: Crown Publishers, 1957)—concerning Perets, see p. 453, and five poems in translation; I. L. Peretz, In This World and the Next: Selected Writings, trans. Moshe Speigel (New York: Yoseloff, 1958), 377 pp.—translations of thirty-six stories by Perets and articles about him by Sholem Asch, A. Mukdoni, A. Roback, Dovid Pinski, Meylekh Grafshteyn, and Shmuel Niger; Joseph Leftwich, trans., The Book of Fire: Stories by I. L. Peretz (new York: Yoseloff, 1960), 448 pp.—preface, pp. 9-51, on Perets’s writings and translations of fifty-four stories; Isaac Leib Peretz, My Memoirs, trans. Fred Goldberg (New York: Citadel Press, 1964), 192 pp.—this volume includes a portion of Perets’s memoirs; Dina Abramowich, Yiddish Literature in English Translation: Books Published 1945-1967 (New York: YIVO Institute, 1967), 35 pp.
In the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 8 (New York, 1942), pp. 436-37, there is a biography of Perets by Baruch Mayerson with a short bibliography of Perets in English works, such as Harry B Rogoff, Nine Yiddish Writers: Critical Appreciations (1931); Charles Madison, in Poet Lore 37 (1926), p. 7306; it is also worth noting that Meyer Waxman, A History of Jewish Literature, vol. IV (New York: Yoseloff, 1947), pp. 489-501, deals with Perets’s life and works.  In Russian there is a collection of his writings, Izbrannoe (Selections), a group of his stories selected by A. Kantor and Rivke Rubin (Moscow, 1962).
Many Jewish painters illustrated Perets’s stories and dramas.  We should note Arthur Kolnik’s A gilgl fun a nign, tsvantsik holtsshnitn inspirirt fun der khsidisher geshikhte fun y. l. perets (Metamorphosis of a melody, twenty woodcuts inspired by the Hassidic story of Y. L. Perets), with a preface by Shloyme Bikl (Paris, 1948).
Should we attempt to make an accounting of what has been written about Perets and the editions of his works, we might come to the following conclusions: as of 1967, there is still no complete edition of Perets’s works.  Missing are many of his writings.  Also not included are all the variants of different texts of his that he reworked and reworked again.  We still do not have in Yiddish a major portion of his original writings in Hebrew.  Two new editions of his work are needed—one that contains all of Perets’s writings that have not as yet been collected, and this should include translations of his Hebrew writings which remain untranslated; a second edition should be an academic one that would contain everything that Perets wrote in Yiddish and translations from Hebrew, as well as the variants of his works.  Everything should be accompanied by necessary introductions and footnotes.  The assemblers and editors should take into consideration the jubilee editions of 1901 and the edition of “Progres” publishing house, because both appeared while Perets was alive, and he most certainly attended to work on these editions.  Also, an edition in Hebrew is needed, which includes everything that he wrote in Yiddish and in Hebrew.  The second conclusion is that there is an immense literature that has been written about Perets.  There are as well a number of solid, substantive studies, but all Perets materials have still not been worked up and made use of, and we need further Perets studies in future.[41]
Elye (Elias) Shulman

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 435.]

[1] This is the official and, it would appear, the correct date.  (Translator’s note. There was apparently at one time controversy over the year of Perets’s birth—JAF.)
[2] Translator’s note. It’s actually somewhat further, twenty-one kilometers according to Google Maps. (JAF)
[3] A portion of Borokhov’s Perets bibliography was republished in: Ber Borokhov, Shprakh-forshung un literatur-geshikhte (Language research and literary history) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1966), pp. 226-31.
[4] Tsaytshrift 1 (Minsk: Institute for Byelorussian Culture, 1926), pp. 72-86.
[5] Dr. Elye (Elias) Shulman, in Pinkes far der forshung fun der yidisher literatur un prese (Records of research on Yiddish literature and the press) (New York: World Jewish Culture Congress, 1965), pp. 140-42, 170 (fn 14).
[6] A. Gurshteyn states precisely where and when all the works that he cites were published.
[7] Shulman, p. 150.
[8] A. Gurshteyn also mentions Zalmen Reyzen’s Perets bibliography, written for children, which was published by the Central Yiddish School Organization (Vilna, 1921), entitled Yitskhok-leybush perets, zayn lebn un zayne verk (Yitskhok-Leybush Perets, his life and his work).
[9] In Biblyologisher zamlbukh (Bibliological anthology), vol. 1 (Kiev: Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Central Publisher for the Peoples of the USSR, 1930), pp. 487-506.
[10] See Y. Remenik, “Ven hot perets ongehoybn shraybn yidish” (When Perets began to write Yiddish), Biblyologisher zamlbukh 1, pp. 517-19.  He cites Ruvn Osher Broydes’s letter to Linetski of 1876, when he met Perets in Warsaw and asked Perets to write him something for the newspaper Yisroelik, and Perets composed a poem, “A brief fun poylishe nekeyves” (A letter from Polish women).
[11] Selection of texts and literary historical introduction by A. Rozentsvayg (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1934), 188 pp.
[12] Kalmen Marmor lived at the time in Kiev.  Not only is the list of Perets’s writings in Tsukunft incomplete, but the listing of items in Arbeter tsaytung is also incomplete and requires further work.  See also: Dovid Pinski, “Di geshikhte fun di yontef bletlekh” (The history of Di yontef bletlekh), Tsukunft (New York) (May 1952); and Elye (Elias) Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), pp. 55, 71, 104.
[13] In his introduction to the additions, Shatski wrote: “The materials accumulated over the course of my work on a monograph about Perets.”  He had published a few earlier studies, such as “Haskole in zamoshtsh” (The Jewish Enlightenment in Zamość), among others, but a thorough monograph on Perets was never published, and it would be important to discover where the manuscript and collected materials are now located.  See also: Y. Shatski, “Der umbakanter perets” (The unknown Perets), Tsukunft 7 (July 1945), pp. 443-48.
[14] Shaye Berger returned to the same topic in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 56 (1965).  See also Menashe Unger, “Mekoyrim fun peretses ‘folkstimlekhe geshikhtn’” (Sources for Perets’s Folkstimlekhe geshikhtn [Folktales]), Idisher kemfer (New York) (March-April 1945).
[15] A continuation of Yudel Mark’s work was published in Yivo-bleter 28.2 (Winter 1946), pp. 337-62.
[16] E. R. Malachi also published an essay, “Y. l. perets der hebreisher shrayber” (Y. L. Perets the Hebrew writer), in Tsukunft (New York) 4 (1945).  The essay was republished in the volume: Y. l. perets in 19tn yorhundert, lider, dertseylungen, eseyen (Y. L. Perets in the nineteenth century, poems, stories, essays), ed. Shmuel Rozhanski (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 164-268.
[17] Translator’s note. With thanks to Anna Z. Elliott for deciphering the meaning of “pepeesovtses.” (JAF)
[18] Also included in this volume is Y. Yeshurin bibliography, “Zikhroynes vegn peretsn” (Memories of Perets), pp. 165-70.  It is worth noting that this one goes a bit further than the other bibliographies of Perets by Yeshurin.  E. R. Malachi also published supplements to his “Perets un hebreish” in Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 355-61.
[19] An accurate report concerning the manuscript and the story were published in Kriyat sefer (Jerusalem) 40.3 (June 1965).  A Yiddish translation of “Hanekama” by Elkhonen Indlman was published in Der veker (New York) (April 1967; May 1967).  See also: Elye Falkov, in Der veker (March 1967), pp. 9-10.
[20] Very few of the bibliographies are complete.  What is pertinent is that Yeshurin did not pay a great deal of attention to Soviet Yiddish literary research.  In his Mafteaḥ ha-mafteḥot (Index of indexes) (Jerusalem, 1965), Shlomo Shunami is quite critical of Yeshurin’s bibliographies for Y. L. Perets.  The bibliographies note that items 4080 and 4081 were in Kultur un dertsiung and Tsukunft.  The page numbers for the two items are identical.  This is an error.
[21] Shlomo Shunami states that A. B-Graf is apparently Avrom Bik.  This is incorrect.  The author was Nakhmen Mayzil.
[22] Shlomo Shunami suggests looking up in his book numbers 1337, 3481, and 4149.  The first is: Viltshinski, “Vegn yidish-poylishe iberzetsungen” (On Yiddish-Polish translations), in which Perets is mentioned.  The second is Yeshurin’s bibliographies of Shloyme Etinger, A. Tsederboym, and Perets which are included in an offprint edition in Buenos Aires.  The third item is Weinreich’s bibliography of Perets’s works translated into English (see below).
[23] Shomo Shunami twice notes in his book Y. Shatski’s additions to the bibliographies of Borokhov and Gurshteyn, nos. 4072-4073.  He provides the two separate places in which they were published.  In fact the two bibliographies are identical, published only once in Yivo-bleter in 1937.  Shunami mixed this up with a bibliography of Shatski that he doesn’t cite: “Tsu der biblyografye fun peretses verk” (Toward a bibliography of Perets’s work), Pinkes (Records) (New York) 1 (1927-1928), pp. 383-84, but Shunami does indicate in the Gurshteyn bibliography, no. 4070, Yankev Shatski’s report on this bibliography in Pinkes 1 (1927-1928), p. 393.
[24] Critical assessments of the two books by Yankev Shatski may be found in Yivo-bleter 28.1 (1946), pp. 171-85.
[25] Dr. Shatski’s review of this book was published in Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 261-62.
[26] In Tarbits rivon lemadei hayahadut 36.2 (December 1966), pp. 180-86.
[27] Nakhmen Mayzil counted the special issue of Sovetishe literatur (October 1940).  He did not, however, count the special Perets issue of Di royte velt (The red world) (Kharkov) 7 (1925); see above note 10.
[28] Shmuel Niger’s volume was well received.  The only one to criticize it sharply was Dr. A. Mukdoni.  His article was published in Der shpigl (The mirror) (Buenos Aires) (November 1953).  See also: E. Shulman, “Dr mukdoni un sh. niger” (Dr. Mukdoni and Sh. Niger), Der veker (New York) (December 15, 1953).  A positive evaluation of Niger’s book was given by Yankev Shatski: “A monumental verk vegn peretsn” (A monumental work about Perets), Yivo-bleter 39 (1955), pp. 304-9.  Concerning Shveyd’s book, see Y. Shatski, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (January 1956).
[29] Compare N. Mayzil’s listing with the aforecited Y. Yeshurin’s Perets bibliography, “Bikher un broshurn in yidish un hebreish vegn y. l. perets” (New York, 1962), Shunami no. 4094.
[30] Reprinted in Y. D. Berkovitsh, Unzere rishoynim, zikhroynes-dertseylungen vegn sholem-aleykhem un zayn dor (Our predecessors, memoirs-stories about Sholem-Aleichem and his generation), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Menorah, 1966), pp. 56-65.  This volume also includes “Sholem aleykhem un y. l. perets” (Sholem-Aleichem and Y. L. Perets), pp. 47-55.  See also in this work: “Dovid frishman un y. l. perets” (Dovid Frishman and Y. L. Perets), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv: Menorah, 1966), 35-45; “Peretses grus tsu sholem-aleykhem” (Perets’s greeting to Sholem-Aleichem), vol. 2, pp. 104-11; and “Y. l. peretses toyt” (The death of Y. L. Perets), vol. 5, pp. 190-97.
[31] Compare this as well with Dr. E. Shulman, “Y. l. peretses program far der yidisher literatur” (Y. L. Perets’s program for Yiddish literature), Folk un velt (New York) (August-September 1965), pp. 8-12.
[32] Concerning this play, Chone Shmeruk has written in Molad (Tel Aviv) (September 1965), pp. 203-4.  In the same issue of this journal is an essay, “Y. l. perets” (Y. L. Perets), by Yaakov Sheynberg, reprinted from Hapoel-hatsair 16 (1916), and one by Shmuel Verses entitled “Al omnot hasipur shel y. l. perets” (On the foundations of the story of Y. L. Perets).
[33] Katalog hataarukha lezekher yitsak-leybush perets bimelot amishim shana letirato 675-725 (Catalogue of the exhibition to commemorate Yitskhok-Leybush Perets on the fiftieth anniversary, 1915-1965, of his death) (Jerusalem: National Library and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 1965), pp. 6, 90.
[34] M. Rozenhoyz reviews the catalogue in his “A por bamerkungen tsu an interesanter oysshtelung” (A few remarks about an interesting exhibition), Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 7 (July 1966), p. 142.
[35] Yankev Shatski, “Peretses shaykhes tsum teater un drame” (Perets’s connections to the theater and drama), Yivo-bleter 28.1 (Autumn 1946), pp. 185-87.
[36] In the same issue of Sovetish heymland was published Moyshe Altman’s “Monish,” a folk-play following the motifs in Y. L. Perets, pp. 62-94.
[37] Compare this with the aforementioned work, “Di gilgulim fun y. l. peretses monish” by Khave Turnyanski, in Di goldene keyt 52 (1965), pp. 205-24.
[38] See footnote 19 above.
[39] See reviews by Yoysef Teper, in Yivo-bleter 12.1-3 (August-October 1937), pp. 338-50.
[40] See the review by Ada Boreysho-Fogel in Yivo-bleter 36 (1952), pp. 268-75.
[41] Recently published was Meylekh Ravitsh, ed, Dos amolike yidishe varshe, biz der shvel fun dritn khurbn, 1414-1939 (Jewish Warsaw of bygone times, until the threshold of the third destruction, 1414-1939) (Montreal, 1966).  Assembled in this volume is a wealth of material concerning Perets, but this material was published earlier and noted in the aforecited Perets bibliographies.

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