Thursday, June 17, 2004

The Times weighs in on the I.B. Singer centennial with a rehash of the Yiddish writers wars chronicled by Cynthia Ozick in Envy. Two quotes capture the spirit:

Inna Grade (Chaim Grade's almanah) on Singer: I profoundly despise all those who eat the bread into which the blasphemous buffoon has urinated.

Allan Nadler: When Abraham Sutzkever was starving, fighting Nazis with the partisans in the Lithuanian woods and writing great Yiddish poetry about the tragic fate of the Jews on fragments of bark, Singer was eating cheese blintzes at Famous Dairy Restaurant on 72nd Street and thinking about Polish whores and Yiddish devils.

A lesser intellectual might have urinated into the cheese blintzes and eaten the bread but Singer didn't get the Nobel Prize for nothing.

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