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Isaac Bashevis Singer Profile




Library of America

Isaac Bashevis Singer Birth:

Isaac Bashevis Singer was named Icek-Hersz Zynger when he was born in Leoncin, Poland on July 14, 1904. His father was Rabbi Pincus Menachem, and his mother was Bathsheba Zylberman, who also came from a family of rabbis. He was one of four children.

After the war, Singer discover that his mother and one of his brothers had frozen to death after being deported to Kazakhstan.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Death:

Isaac Bashevis Singer died in Surfside, Florida on July 24, 1991 after suffering from a series of strokes. He may have had Alzheimer's.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Marriage:

Isaac Bashevis Singer had a son, Isreal, with Runia Shapira. The couple separated when Singer emigrated to the United States. Runia eventually moved to Palestine.

Singer married Alma Haimann in 1940.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Education and Early Writing:

Isaac Bashevis Singer entered the Tachkemoni Rabbinical Seminary in 1920. He moved to Warsaw, and was a proofreader for the "Literarische Bleter," which was edited by his brother. He published his first novel, "Satan in Goray," in 1932; and he became an associate editor of "Globus" in 1933.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Awards and Recognition:

Isaac Bashevis Singer won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Bacarrella Prize (Italy), and the Louise Lamed Prize. He was also elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Quotes:

"The Jewish people have been in exile for 2,000 years; they have lived in hundreds of countries, spoken hundreds of languages and still they kept their old language, Hebrew. They kept their Aramaic, later their Yiddish; they kept their books; they kept their faith."
"The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual--when it begins to ignore the passions, the motions--it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance."

"A good writer is basically a story teller, not a scholar or a redeemer of mankind."

"A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is--full of surprises."

"Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression."

"Originality is not seen in single words or even in sentences. Originality is the sum total of a man's thinking or his writing."

"The greatness of art is not to find what is common but what is unique."

"There is great treasure there behind our skull and this is true about all of us. This little treasure has great, great powers, and I would say we only have learnt a very, very small part of what it can do."

Isaac Bashevis Singer Brief Biography:

(1904-1991) Polish-born American writer. Isaac Bashevis Singer was a journalist, short-story writer, novelist, and essayist, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978 "for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life."

Selected List of Works:

Crown of Feathers, A
Death of Metuselah and Other Stories, The
Estate, The
Enemies: A Love Story
Family Moskat, The
Friend of Kafka, A
Gimpel The Fool
Golem, The
Image and Other Stories, The
Little Boy in Search of God: Mysticism in a Personal Light
Lost in America
Magician of Lublin, The
Manor, The
Old Love
Penitent, The
Power of Light, The
Reaches of Heaven
Ring of the Fields, The
Satan in Goray
Seance, The
Short Friday
Slave, The
Yentl the Yeshiva Boy
Young Man in Search of Love, A

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