The End of Everything

David Bergelson; Translated and Edited by Joseph Sherman

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January 5, 2010
312 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300110678
Paper

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Originally published in 1913, When All Is Said and Done is one of the great novels of the twentieth century. Considered David Bergelson’s masterpiece, it was written in Yiddish and until now has been unavailable in a complete and accurate English translation. This version by acclaimed translator Joseph Sherman finally brings the novel to a wide English-speaking audience.

 

Bergelson depicts the lives of upwardly mobile, self-aware nouveaux riche Jews in the waning years of the Russian Empire. The central character, Mirel Hurvits, is an educated, beautiful woman who embodies the conflict between tradition and progress, aristocracy and enterprise. A forced marriage of convenience results in Mirel’s emotional disintegration and provokes a confrontation with the expectations of her pious family and with Jewish tradition. In a unique prose style of unsurpassable range and beauty, Bergelson reduces language to its bare essentials, punctuated by silences that heighten the sense of alienation in the story.

A Russian Yiddish novelist and a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, David Bergelson (1884–1952) was one of the thirteen defendants at the infamous trial of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee held in Moscow in May 1952.   

 

The translator, Joseph Sherman, is currently Corob Fellow in Yiddish Studies at Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University.

"First published in 1913, Bergelson's prophetic novel makes use of a surprisingly nervy minimalism to tell the tale of a beautiful woman from a privileged background whose life is shattered by a marriage of convenience—a searching diagnosis of the anxious hollowness at the center of Jewish life during the turn-of-the-century."—Bill Marx, PRI's The World (World Books: International Reads for the Holidays)

Selected as one of the "International Reads for the Holidays," Bill Marx, PRI’s “The World”

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