The Misfortunes of Mendele

Howe, Irving
May 1955
New Republic;5/2/55, Vol. 132 Issue 18, p21
The article focuses on the book "The Nag," by Mendele Mocher. The Nag is a difficult book to classify; it is partly allegory, partly simple narrative, partly a blunt attack on the slothfulness and fatalism of the east European Jewish world as it appeared to Mendele some 80 years ago. The hero of the book is a workhorse, forever beaten and abused, yet forever capable of re-gathering his energies and pushing ahead to the certain prospect of further beatings and abuse, Hardly more fabulous than his resilience is the capacity of this horse to reason about his fate and, in an amusing facsimile of Jewish dialectic, to debate the problems of modern history.


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