Born in the Ukraine in 1896, and settling in Montreal in 1910, Segal became one of the first Yiddish writers in Canada. His poetry, infused with lyricism and mysticism, along with the numerous essays and articles he penned, embodied both a rich literary tradition and the modernism of his day. Pierre Anctil has written so much more than a biography. For the first time, Segal's poetic production is referenced, translated and rigorously analyzed, and includes over 100 pages of appendices, shedding light on the artistic, spiritual, cultural and historical importance of his oeuvre. By introducing the reader to the poet's work through previously unpublished translations, Anctil demonstrates that in many respects it reflects the history of the Jewish immigrants who arrived in North America from Russia, the Ukraine and Poland at the beginning of the 20th century, as well as the tragic experiences of Jewish intellectual refugees of the interwar period. This admirably written, sweeping yet subtle, work will appeal both to scholars and to a broader audience.
The original French version was awarded the prestigious 2014 Canada Prize in the Humanities by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Full professor in the Department of History at the University of Ottawa where he teaches contemporary Canadian history.
Translator's Note Preface: A Quebec Lyric Poet Introduction CHAPTER 1 Arrival in Montreal Factory Work First Attempts at Writing In the Pages of Jewish Daily Eagle The Revelation of 1917 The Emergence of Yiddish Literature in Montreal Caiserman in Montreal The Poale Zion and the Founding of the Canadian Jewish Congress The Urgent Call of Zionism The Failed Russian Revolution of 1905 The Beginnings of a Jewish Proletariat in Montreal CHAPTER 2 Leaving Korets The Dawn of 1918 Intimist Writing The Urban Aesthetic The Canadian Winter An Exemplary Influence The Genesis of a Yiddish Poet The Korets Talmud Torah and Its Nigun First Literary Influences Segal's Maternal Grandfather The Great Crossing CHAPTER 3 First Literary Success Bazunder lider (1921) The New York Modernist Movement The Journal Nyuansn Under the Wing of Mani Leib Fun mayn shtub un mayn velt (1923) Lider (1926) Caiserman, the First Yiddish Literary Critic The Canadian Landscape Following the Lead of the French-Canadian Poets An Emerging Literature CHAPTER 4 Toward a Golden Age New Waves of Immigration The Crash of 1929 Literary Salons and Book Committees The Sinister Echoes of Nazism Idishe dikhter in kanade (1934) Caiserman as Literary Historian The Poet at His Peak The Great Mystical Watershed The Agnostic Poet Before God CHAPTER 5 The "Years of Lead": The Holocaust and Its Aftermath First Indications of Genocide The End of a World New Sources of Inspiration Looking Toward Montreal A Mystical Leap A Chorus of Praise The Contribution of the Holocaust Survivors The Ravitch Galaxy The Yiddish Writers Association Twilight Reflections The Final Exile Conclusion