Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some bibliographic notes on Chaim Grade's "Mayn Krig mit Hersh Rasseyner"/ "My quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner."

Back in 1992 Zachary Baker, responding to an inquiry by Leonard Prager provided the answer to the question of, where was “the original Yiddish version of Chaim Grade's story "Mayn krig mit Hersh Raseyner." The answer is that it first appeared in the journal [Y]IDISHER KEMFER, vol. 32, no. 923 (Rosh Hashanah issue, Sept. 28, 1951), pp. 33-44. It was reprinted in 1969, in a thin volume containing Grade's classic poem "Musernikes" and the story "Mayn krig [etc.]" (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Yiddish Language and Literature). An English translation of the story was published in Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg's anthology A TREASURY OF YIDDISH STORIES (New York: The Viking Press, 1954), pp. 579-606. The story was made into the film "The Quarrel," .... The film, which is set in Montreal (the story was set in Paris), is a Canadian production…”  [Mendele http://mendele.commons.yale.edu/wp/category/volume-02/volume-02-089/].
I have had quite a few questions about this over the years. I just wanted to add a few additional note regarding access to this story and the bibliography than Zachary Baker provided. The issue of Yiddishe Kemfer where the volume first appeared is hard to locate. Similarly, the Hebrew University volume is pretty uncommon on the second hand market.  The first translation of “Mayn Krig,” was translated by Milton Himmelfarb. Another translation appears in the small volume, “The Seven Little Lanes,” which includes three stories by Grade, “On strange soil,” “The seven lanes of the Vilna ghetto,” and “My quarrel with Hersh Rasseyner.” It was published New York, The Bergen-Belsen Memorial Press, 1972. All of the stories were translated by Kurt Leviant. This is also out-of-print and scarce on the second hand market.  A final location of an English translation is the recent volume, “Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology,” edited by Jules Chametzky, Joel Felstiner,  Hilene Flanzbaum, and Kathryn Hellerstein, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. It appears on pages 648-670. The Milton Himmelfarb translation is reprised. However in this iteration helpful footnotes have been added.  
The DVD of the film appears not to have a current distributor.  A few copies are available from independent sellers through a large corporate entity named after a South America river. Not a fan. Copies can be had from David Brandes, one of the film’s producers, for $35.00. He can be reached by phone at 310-556-5639. Like the film version of Sendak’s, “Where the Wild Things Are,” the film version of “Mayn Krig,” goes far beyond the original text.  A major change is that the protagonists are face to face.
Perhaps, in coming years Grade's works will reappear in print in both Yiddish and English. We can only hope.

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