Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1978
Born: 14 July 1904, Leoncin, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Died: 24 July 1991, Surfside, FL, USA
Residence at the time of the award: USA
Prize motivation: “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”
Prize share: 1/1
Isaac Bashevis Singer grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Warsaw, where the main language was Yiddish. Singer’s father, a rabbi, worked in a yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish school for the study of sacred texts. Singer began studies to become a rabbi himself but decided to devote his life to writing. He emigrated to the United States in 1935 and settled in New York, where he found work as a writer, journalist and translator. Singer left behind a rich body of work, including about 20 novels and several books for children.
Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote his works in Yiddish. His debut came in 1925 with publication of Af der elter (In Old Age). In several of his works, Singer writes about Polish Jews before the Holocaust. The stories often cover several generations, and many of them describe how modernity, secularism and assimilation affect the families. The stories often feature Jewish folklore and legends. Singer also wrote books for children and his autobiography, In My Father’s Court (1967). Several of the Singers’ works have been adapted for film.
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