Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Isaac Meir (Itzhak) Dick

 Born in 1807 [according to Pinchas Kon -- 1813-4] in Vilna, Polish Lithuania. His father for forty years was a cantor in Zavil's shul, but he had to earn income in the grains trade in which the young Isaac Meir helped him out. He was educated in Gemorah, sitting in Niesvizh oyf kest bey shver un shviger, with a glkh, who taught him bshtikh German. Later D. also learned Russian and Polish. At the end of his thirtieth year of the nineteenth century, he settled with his family in Vilna, and he persevered with education. He continued to make a living as a Hebrew teacher, and D. took an active part in the Haskalah movement (is therefore by denunciation arrested), and with time became the main spokesman in the circle of maskhilim.

According to Sh. Niger, D. began to write a great deal in his thirties or at the start of his forties. During his literary activity in Yiddish he had -- according to Z. Reyzen -- begun at first in his fifties.

"In the Yiddish literature of the Haskalah epoch, Dick took a prominent place, if not according to an artistic degree, which due to his productivity. His work was the first secular book in Yiddish, which was disseminated in an unusually large number of copies and had created a mass reading of the neymodishe secular story-book in Yiddish" [Z. Reyzen].

In 1887 in Vilna, there was published D.'s adaptation of Friedrich Schiller's "Kabale un libe (Intrigue and Love)", under the name "Der farmaskirter frant, dos heyst azoy eyn frant vos var im arunter gerisen di erlikhe maske zeyne (di tsboyttsve), nokh before he had performed his great role di falshe vos er hot givolt oys firin, un es es kumt do for als eyn theater, oder lust shpil." Adapted after Schiller mas am'd [printed in Russian: a drama by A. M. Dick], Vilna shnt tr"md lpk [104 pp., 16].

The play was never staged.

Itzhak Libresko tells in his memoirs that he had from D.'s small story "Di tsvey kleyne katerinshtshikes" crated a play in four acts, under the name "Di derfilte libe", which around 1878-79 was staged in Iasi's Pomul Verde.

On 24 January 1893, D. passed away in Vilna.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, pp. 711-734.

  • P. Kohn -- Ven iz geboyrn gevorn ayzik-meir dik, "Filologishe shriftn", Vol. II, Vilna, 1928, pp. 329-344; Vol. III, Vilna, 1929, pp. 616-617.

  • Sh. N.  -- Tsu der frage vegn a. m. diks geurtsyor, "Pnks", N. Y., I, Notebook 4, pp. 380-82.

  • Sh. Niger -- Ven hot a. m. dik ongehoybn shreybn yidish?, "Pnks", I, Notebook 4, pp. 289-93.

  • Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Hintern forhang", Vilna, 1928, pp. 39-40.

  • Sh. Niger -- Di ershte verk fun a. m. dik, "Pnks', N. Y., II, Notebook 1, pp. 1-9.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 564.

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