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DIENESOHN, JACOB:

Yiddish novelist; born in Zagory (Zagaren), Russia, in 1859. He is one of the most popular Yiddish novelists of the latter half of the nineteenth century. He began to write in 1877, when he published a story called "Ha-Ne'ehabim weha-Ne'imim" or "Der Schwartzer Junger Mantshik." (The Dark Young Man). Since then Dienesohn has written many novels, almost all of which have been widely read. Among the best known of his works is his "Eben Negef" (Stumbling-Stone). In his books Dienesohn pictures the struggle among the Jews of the older and the younger generation—between the "haskalah" and ḥasidism. He knew well the public for which he was writing, and avoided all violent expressions in denouncing fanaticism, describing merely the sufferings of the Maskilim. His later novels treat of the same themes, but are rather sketches from Jewish life than romantic stories. Dienesohn is also the author of the "Welt-Geschichte," in Yiddish. He has in addition contributed many articles to Yiddish periodicals, and is a good Hebrew writer, his contributions to "Ha-Shaḥar" having won him the favorable criticism even of such writers as Smolenskin.

Bibliography:
  • Wiener, Yiddish Literature, p. 189;
  • Sefer Zikkaron, Warsaw, p. 26.
G. M. Ra.
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