Sholem Asch


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Asch, Sholem

 

Born Jan. 1, 1880, in Kutno, Poland; died July 10, 1957, in London. Jewish writer. Born into a religious family. First published in 1900.

In his novellas The Little Town (1905) and Shloyme the Rich Man (1909) Asch idealized the patriarchal and religious foundations of old-fashioned Jewish life. The play The God of Vengeance (1907), which was directed against prostitution, was performed in the theaters of Russia and on the stages of Western Europe and America. In 1909, Asch went to the USA, where he wrote socially pertinent novels drawn from the lives of Jewish workers: Mottke the Thief (1917), Uncle Moses (1917), The Mother, The Electric Chair, Chaim Lederer’s Return, and others. Asch revived ancient and medieval Jewish legends in such novels as In Praise of God (1920), The Castilian Sorceress (1921), The Psalm-singer (1937), and The Man From Nazareth (1943). The novels Mary (1949) and Moses (1951) are based on biblical themes.

WORKS

Shriften, vols. 1–8. Warsaw, 1908–1912.
Gezamelte shriften, vols. 1–18. Warsaw, 1924–25.
Kol Keitvn Sholom Ash. Odessa, 1913.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1929–30.
Liudi i bogi: Izbr. proizv. (Introductory article and notes by M. Belen’kii.) Moscow, 1966.

REFERENCES

Litvakov, M. Af tsvei frontn. Moscow-Kharkov, 1931.
Reisen, Z. Leksikonfun der iidisher literatur prese un filologie, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Vilnius, 1926.
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Though Sholem Asch, for example, had quickly sold the East River film rights for the impressive sum of $225,000, MGM eventually scratched production with the oblique explanation that "there have been enough pictures dealing with anti-Semitism for the time being." (81) Rachel Davis DuBois, meanwhile, was made to answer for her intergroup-relations efforts before Joseph McCarthy's Senate subcommittee.
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David Roskies' delightful journey through Yiddish-American writing includes valuable analyses of works by Morris Rosenfeld, Sholem Asch, Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Sholem Asch himself was, as the title of his English language biography suggests, indisputably among the most controversial of Yiddish writers.
She navigates between such playwrights as Sholem Asch and Clifford Odets, and magnetic stage performers like Sophie Tucker, implicitly acknowledging that legitimacy can shift between playwright and performer.
Once a staple of the Yiddish theater, Sholem Asch's "God of Vengeance" became a cause celebre in 1923 when it transferred to Broadway in an English translation that provoked the wrath of the NYPD, which shut it down.
The son of writer Sholem Asch, Moses lived for a while next door to Leon Trotsky in the Bronx.
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