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A young Hasidic Jew struggling to master the Talmud seeks his fortune amid the teeming streets of New York's Lower East Side. The energy formerly focused on his religious studies now turns in the direction of rising to the top of the business world, where he discovers the high price of assimilation.
"The most important of all immigrant novels."--Carl Van Doren.
The Rise of David Levinsky, written by the legendary founder and editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, is an early Jewish-American classic. According to the scholar Sam B. Girgus, "The novel is more than an important literary work and cultural document. It forms part of the traditional ritual of renewal of the American Way."First published in 1917, Abraham Cahan's realistic novel tells the story of a young talmudic scholar who emigrates from a small town in Russia to the melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York City. As the Jewish "greenhorn" rises from the depths of poverty to become a millionaire garment merchant, he discovers the unbearably high price of assimilation.
His first novel, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto, was published in 1896. The graphic story of an Americanized Russo-Jewish immigrant, it attracted much attention and was favorably commented on by the press both in America and in England. W. D. Howells compared Cahan's work to that of Stephen Crane, and prophesied for him a successful literary future.
Yekl (1896), the first novel upon which the much acclaimed film Hester Street was based, was probably the first novel in English that had a New York East Side immigrant as its hero. Reviewing it, William Dean Howells hailed Cahan as "a new star of realism."
Yekl (1896), the first novel upon which the much acclaimed film Hester Street was based, was probably the first novel in English that had a New York East Side immigrant as its hero. Reviewing it, William Dean Howells hailed Cahan as "a new star of realism. "
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