The Two Souls of Mordkhe: In poylishe velder
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The Two Souls of Mordkhe: In poylishe velder book
When Joseph Opatoshu's In poylishe velder (In Polish woods) appeared in 1921, the realist writer Hersh Dovid Nomberg was raving about it. Indeed, in In poylishe velder, Joseph Opatoshu accomplished a task of enormous proportions. The hero of Opatoshu's three-part novel is Mordkhe, a Jewish man who was brought up in the Polish woods on the Vistula river where his father worked as a shrayber, an administrator of the forests owned by Polish noblemen. Opatoshu's narrator does not make it easy for Mordkhe, the protagonist and, as Leo Kenig correctly pointed out, the author's fictional voice. The work on In poylishe velder offered Opatoshu the opportunity to portray the history of the Jews in Poland. In Warsaw, Jews participated in patriotic demonstrations in support of Polish protests against Russian domination. Joseph Opatoshu was the first, and maybe the only, author to introduce the Landy legend into Yiddish literature.