Saturday, October 3, 2020, 6:00 - 7:30 pm -
Esther Kreitman was the first child in the Polish Jewish family that produced the novelists Israel Joshua Singer and Isaac Bashevis Singer. From the moment of her birth, she was devalued because she was female, not male. Denied educational opportunities afforded her younger brothers, she was forced by her parents into a loveless marriage, barely sustained herself and her son through work as a translator and seamstress, and struggled throughout her life with the emotional toll of the abandonment she experienced by her parents and, later, her extravagantly successful brothers. The Dance of the Demons, published in Yiddish in 1936 and later translated into English by her son, was followed by a second full-length work, Bryllantin (Diamonds), in 1944. I. B. Singer referred to his sister in his works by her childhood name, Hinde Esther, and reported that she was his model for the character Yentl. He also grudgingly praised her as the best of the Yiddish women writers. Since The Dance of the Demons has been typically read as if it were Kreitman's autobiography, we will read some background sources that can help us to rehabilitate this misused personality to her rightful place as a recognized author.
Resources: Published by The Feminist Press in 2004 (Orig. Yiddish, 1936; trans. by Maurice Carr, 1956). Read the introduction by Ilan Stavans, afterword by Anita Norich, and biographical essays by Kreitman's son and translator, Maurice Carr and granddaughter Hazel Karr.