The Dybbuk, by S. An-sky (1863-1920) is the crown jewel of the Jewish theatre, the most renowned, most beloved, most translated, and most performed of all Jewish plays. It was first performed in Yiddish by the Vilna Troupe in Warsaw in 1920, and by the Habima Theatre in Moscow in 1922. It has subsequently been performed thousands of times all over the world in a score of languages. It is still being performed well into the 21st Century.
As an agnostic Socialist, An-sky enigmatically wrote this play which favorably depicts a late 19th Century Hasidic community. A young maiden in love with one youth being forced to marry another is the kernel of the play around which the rest is developed: the dybbuk himself. A dybbuk is usually defined as a malevolent spirit that inhabits the body of a living person. An-sky’s dybbuk is unique in that the spirit of the unsuccessful lover inhabits the body of the hapless bride. That is, the two love each other. This is the nature of the tragedy.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR Fernando Peñalosa, born in 1925 in Berkeley, California, is Professor of Sociology, Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach. He has carried out research in California, Hawaii, Mexico, Guatemala, Israel, and Macedonia, and has written and published books in a number of fields. A convert to Judaism in 1965, Peñalosa is selftaught in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Jewish studies. He has published translations from Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Akatek Mayan, and from and to Spanish. A more remote connection to Judaism is documented by the frequent occurrence of the surname Peñalosa in the archives of the Spanish Inquisition. His family is descended from a Converso who came to Mexico with Hernán Cortés and the other Spanish invaders in 1520.
Paperback book 2012
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