By Itzik Manger
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Extra info for The World According to Itzik: Selected Poetry and Prose
Behind the regular beat and monosyllabic rhyme, behind the naive folk-facade stood a champion of natural verse, natural speech, natural love. Like Burns, Manger used his vernacular to counteract what in academic circles nowadays are called the “hegemonic claims” of the majority culture. British English was to Burns as German was to Manger. 26 In a wonderful spoof, Manger called the child-protagonist of his Book of Paradise Shmuel-Aba Abervo, borrowing his surname from the German expression commonly used by the Jews of Czernowitz: “Aber-vo, Come off it!
The World According to Itzik: Selected Poetry and Prose Itzik Manger Translated and Edited by Leonard Wolf With an Introductionby David G. Roskies and Leonard Wolf Yale University Press New Haven & London This book is dedicated to the memory of Uriel Weinreich, scholar, Yiddishist, and friend, who introduced me to the work of Itzik Manger —L. W. Contents Let Us Sing Simply Introduction POETRY Itzik’s Midrash Introduction The Sacrifice of Itzik I Praise Thee Lord Eve and the Apple Tree Eve Brings Adam the Apple Abraham Scolds Lot Lot’s Daughters Abraham and Sarah Hagar’s Last Night in Abraham’s House Hagar Leaves Abraham’s House Hagar on Her Journey Abraham Takes Itzik to the Sacrifice The Patriarch Abraham Gets a Letter Rachel Goes to the Well for Water The Patriarch Jacob Meets Rachel Leah Brings Mandrakes from the Field Jacob Teaches the Story of Joseph to His Sons Bathsheba King David and Abishag Abishag Writes a Letter Home Cain and Abel King David Songs of the Megillah Prologue Invocation The Song of the Runner How the Blessed Mordecai Found Favor in the Eyes of the King Queen Vashti The King’s Banquet Vashti’s Song of Grief Queen Vashti Being Led to Execution Esther Getting Ready for the King Mordecai Leaving Esther’s Wedding Fastrigosso’s Elegy Queen Esther Can’t Sleep Fastrigosso Dreaming The Blessed Mordecai, the Mediator The Queen Comes to the King Fastrigosso Has the Birds Carry a Greeting to Esther Haman Telephones Vayzosse, the Editor, at His Office Fonfosso, the Master Tailor, Delivers a Eulogy on Fastrigosso The King Ahasuerus After the Assassination Attempt Mordecai Comes to Queen Esther Wicked Haman Can’t Sleep Wicked Haman in the King’s Courtyard Fonfosso and His Apprentices Sew a Uniform for Haman Pious Mordecai Waits for Satan The Master Tailor, Fonfosso, Prepares to Fast Queen Esther, Fasting Haman Gets Ready for the Masked Ball The King Is Angry Haman Being Taken to the Gallows The Master Tailor, Fonfosso, Presides over a Banquet Fastrigosso’s Mother Lights a Memorial Candle Ballads The Ballad of the White Glow The Ballad of the Crucified and the Verminous Man Old-Fashioned Ballad Hospital Ballad The Ballad of the Man Riding to the Fair Ballad The Ballad of the Blue Pitchers The Ballad of the Necklace of Stars Erotic Ballad The Ballad of the Man Who Went from Gray to Blue Occasional Poems In the Train Baal Shem Satan’s Prayer Evening Saint Besht Like a Murderer With Silent Steps November At the Kolomey Station Twilight The Words of the Journeyman Tailor Notte Manger to the Poet There Is a Tree That Stands Rabenu Tam Reb Levi Yitskhok Since Yesterday For Years I Wallowed Epilogue PROSE Autobiographical Episodes Childhood Years in Kolomey At Grandmother Taube’s in Stopchet A Portrait of a Tailor’s Workshop Fiction Excerpts from The Book of Paradise The Tales of Hershel Summerwind The Story of the Nobleman’s Mustaches The Rabbi of Chelm: May His Memory Be Blessed Essays First Letter to X.
6 Poet, playwright, and parodist—all this supposedly nurtured on native ground. The most detailed account that Manger gave of his poetic beginnings was on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. To an aging but adoring audience at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, Manger described an epiphany that had occurred, aptly enough, in a tavern late one night, his Muse appearing as a drunken old man, the last of a generation of beer hall singers. I was sitting one night in a tavern in Bucharest. A guest from Berlin was with me—Dr.