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BRANDSTÄDTER, MORDECAI DAVID:

Galician novelist; born Feb. 14, 1844, in Brzesko, Galicia. He received a good Talmudical education, and after his marriage (at the early age of fourteen) settled in the home of his wife's parents in Tarnow, pursuing his rabbinical studies for about six years longer. During that time he also became acquainted with Neo-Hebraic and German literature. At the age of twenty he established himself in business in Tarnow, and is now (1902) one of the most prominent manufacturers in the district.

Brandstädter's first attempt at literature was the translation into Hebrew of L. Philippson's pamphlet, "Haben die Juden Wirklich Jesum Gekreuzigt?" (Berlin, 1865), which was published in the Hebrew periodical "Ha-Ibri" in Brody. But his real literary activity began at the time he visited Vienna in 1869 and there made the acquaintance of P. Smolenskin, who had just started his monthly, "Ha-Shaḥar." Smolenskin recognized Brandstädter's talent and encouraged him to write novels. The first sketch from his pen, "Eliyahu ha-Nabi" (The Prophet Elijah), appeared in No. 1 of "Ha-Shaḥar," and was soon after translated into Polish and published in the "Israelita" of Warsaw. "Mordecai Kisovitz" (the story of the life of a Galician Jew) appeared in the second issue of the same paper, and was later translated into Russian and English. "Reshit Madon" (The Beginning of a Quarrel), describing the life of the quasi-enlightened Jews of Galicia, appeared the same year, and "Ha-Niflaot me-'Ir Zidutschub" (The Wonders of the City of Zidutschub) came out in No. 3 of the same periodical. About half a dozen more short stories were subsequently published in "Ha-Shaḥar" and "Ha-Meliẓ." Some of them went through several editions in book form, and several were translated into German and other languages. His collected novels, "Kol Sippure," in two volumes, containing ten short stories in prose and three in verse, were published in Cracow, 1890-91. He has also written several short stories since that time.

Brandstädter displays remarkable skill in telling simple humorous stories, and in mercilessly exposing the weaknesses of the fanatical Ḥasidim, on the one hand, and of the conceited progressive aristocracy, on the other.

Bibliography:
  • Jos. Klausner, Novo-Yevreiskaya Literatura xix. Vycka, p. 49, Warsaw, 1900;
  • Sefer Zikkaron (Book of Memorial), p. 10, Warsaw, 1890;
  • Zeitlin, Bibl. Post-Mendels., p. 38.
S. P. Wi.
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