February 12, 2019/7 Adar I, 5779 is an auspicious day for us. Today Jewish Storyteller Press published the first English translation of Jacob Dinezon’s 1877 Yiddish novel, The Dark Young Man. Translated by Tina Lunson, and adapted and edited by Scott Hilton Davis, Dinezon’s renowned nineteenth-century Jewish romance is now available to twenty-first-century readers.
For me personally, this is the culmination of a sixteen-year effort to revive and rescue Jacob Dinezon’s literary legacy. A highly respected and beloved folk writer during his lifetime, Dinezon’s significant contributions to Jewish literature were obscured by the demise of secular Yiddish following the Holocaust. During the second half of the twentieth century, English translations of novels and stories by Dinezon’s closest friends and colleagues, Sholem Abramovitsh (Mendele Mocher Sforim), I. L. Peretz, and Sholem Aleichem, appeared in multiple editions. Yet, not one of Dinezon’s major works had been translated into English by the first decade of the twenty-first century.
This has all changed. Three of Dinezon’s most important novels and his collection of autobiographical short stories are now available in English as print and ebooks (see Bookstore). In addition, a wealth of photographic, biographical, and research materials are now accessible in English on this website.
September 3, 2019/3 Elul, 5779 marks Dinezon’s 100th yortsayt—the 100th anniversary of his death. The Dark Young Man was published today to commemorate this centennial year and to remember Jacob Dinezon’s remarkable life and literary career.