Childe Harold of Dysna by Moyshe Kulbak, Translated by Robert Adler Peckerar
Originally published in 1933, this masterpiece from one of Yiddish literature’s true virtuosi, Moyshe Kulbak’s Childe Harold of Dysna appears here for the first time in a complete English translation. At once an exuberant celebration of Yiddish language and a searing indictment of capitalist excess, Kulbak’s long poem follows the journey of its protagonist from small town Eastern Europe to the metropolis of Weimar Berlin.
We watch as his literary aspirations and intellectual illusions are dashed on the rocks of a culture corroding from within. Drawing on his own beleaguered experiences in Berlin in the early 1920s, not only does Kulbak offer us a fresh perspective on urban life in interwar Berlin but he also does so in one of the truly great pyrotechnic displays in Yiddish poetry.
Robert Adler Peckerar’s stunning translation has managed the great feat of conveying simultaneously Kulbak’s verbal brilliance and his searing critique. This beautiful volume includes an insightful introduction by Boris Dralyuk, the executive editor of the Los Angeles Review of Book, as well as stunning illustrations by Beynish.
Daydus Press, 2021