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Kumzitz
Posted on: April 14 2001, 11:45 am
• I'm looking for a Yiddish version of Elliot's Love Song.

My name is Ezra Mendelsohn and I'm looking for a source for the text of the Saul Bellow/Isaac Rosenfeld's Yiddish version of Elliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

Thank you for your help.

Posted by: Ezra Mendelsohng
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Posted on: April 15 2001, 10:28 am

• Responding to: I'm looking for a Yiddish version of Elliot's Love Song.

It appears in a paper by Ruth R. Wisse entitled "Language as Fate: Reflections on Jewish Literature in America", a paper published in the 1996 Studies in Contemporary Jewry (Vol. 12), pages 129-147, Oxford University Press. The volume is subtitled Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts. As this volume is not easily accessible, and because I thought other people might be interested in it, here it is:
Der shir hashirim fun Mendl Pumshtok
Nu-zhe, kum-zhe, ikh un du,
Ven der ovnt shteyt uf kegn dem himl
Vi a leymener goylm af Tisha b'Av
 
Lomir geyn zikh
Durkh geselakh vos dreyen zikh
Vi di bord fun dem rov
 
Oy, Bashe, freg nisht keyn kashe,
A dayge dir
 
Oyf der vant fun dem koshern restorant
Hengt a shmutsiker betgevant
Un vantsn tantsn karahod
 
In tsimer vu di vayber zenen
Ret men fun Marx un Lenin
 
Ike ver alt...ikh ver alt...
Es vert mir in pupik kalt
 
Zol ikh oykemen di hor, meg ikh oyfesn a floym?
Ikh vel tskatsheven di hoyzn
un shpatsirn bay dem yam,
 
Ikh vel hern di yam-moydn
zingen khad gadyo
 
Ikh vel zey entfernv
borukh-habo.
 

Ruth Wisse (b'sheim omro) says that she got these lines from Lucy Dawidowicz, who got them from Chaim Raphael, who got them from Daniel Bell.

Alas, I could not find the original in any of SaulBellow's papers on deposit at the University of Chicago library. Bellow assisted Isaac Rosenfeld in its composition, and I could not find the original in any of Rosenfeld's books. Thus this is, as Ruth Wisse says, an oral tradition that she finally recorded on paper.

Posted by: Al Madansky
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