Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: The Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin

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Syracuse University Press, Apr 2, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
In this revelatory biography, Beth Kaplan sets out to explore the true character and creative achievements of her great-grandfather Jacob Gordin, playwright extraordinaire and icon of the Yiddish stage. Born of an Anglican mother and a Jewish father who disdained religion, Kaplan knew little of her Judaic roots and less about her famed great-grandfather until beginning her research, more than twenty years ago. Shedding new light on Gordin and his world, Kaplan describes the commune he founded and led in Russia, his meteoric rise among Jewish New York's literati, the birth of such masterworks as Mirele Efros and The Jewish King Lear, and his seething feud with Abraham Cahan, powerful editor of the Daily Forward. Writing in a graceful and engaging style, she recaptures the Golden Age and colorful actors of Yiddish Theater from 1891 - 1910. Most significantly she discovers the emotional truth about the man himself, a tireless reformer who left a vital legacy to the theater and Jewish life worldwide.
 

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Contents

The Playwrights Funeral
1
Russia
8
A Russian Jew in America
34
The Golden Age
84
Denouement
121
The Jewish King Lear
174
Gordins Legacy to the World and to His Family
216
Partial List of Gordins Plays with Original Titles 19811908
251
Selected Bibliography
257
Acknowledgments
267
Index
269
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Beth Kaplan, award-winning actress and playwright, teaches memoir and personal essay writing at both the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. She has lectured in the United States, England, France, and across Canada. In 2008, she delivered the Wexler Lecture in Jewish History in Washington, D.C.

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