The People of the Book inthe World of Books isaRussian bimonthly publication for serious readers with Jewish interests. Our English website includes only thesummaries of thepublished articles. Toaccess the complete text of them, please visit the Russian version of this website.


February 2021

This issue of the magazine features:

• Sholem Aleichem Forever: The Fate of “The Tenth Man”

The cycle of twenty socially minded short stories by Sholem Aleichem known, alternately, as the “Railroad Stories” and “Tales of a Commercial Traveler” perfectly met the needs of Soviet ideologues who argued that the classic Yiddish writer was primarily a critic of capitalist exploitation and an exposer of the tsarist autocracy. Oddly enough, the cycle did not receive the same circulation in the Soviet Union as the other towering achievements in Sholem Aleichem’s oeuvre—Tevye the Dairyman, The Adventures of Menahem-Mendl, and The Adventures of Mottel the Cantor’s Son. During the entire Soviet period, all twenty stories appeared together in print only once, and in the Yiddish original, not in Russian translation. Even in the most complete editions, one story was missing: “The Tenth Man.” The author of our magazine’s extensive study claims that this was only partly due to the fact that “The Tenth Man” dealt with interethnic relations, a sensitive topic for the Soviet regime. The main reason, in his opinion, was the “politically incorrect” vocabulary used abundantly by Sholem Aleichem in the original Yiddish text of the story. Such vocabulary was typical of vernacular speech in Jewish shtetls, but proved unacceptable to the masterminds of the new Soviet Yiddish culture. In addition to the article, the magazine also presents a new translation of “The Tenth Man” in Russian.

Looking Through Russian Literary Magazines: Novels and Articles of Jewish Interest

Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: March–April 2021

Bibliography: Twenty-Five New Books