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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I

§ 42. Morris Winchevsky

Morris Winchevsky (born in Russia in 1856) is of a kind with Rosenfeld in his themes but quite inferior as a poet. His songs are all coloured with propaganda, though some of them, by virtue of correct versification and essential sincerity, are of decided poetic merit. An old man, he is now more or less reposing on his laurels, and these are not few. Successful translator of Hugo’s Les Miserables, Ibsen’s Doll’s House, and Hood’s The Song of the Shirt, he was also tireless as a disseminator of radical doctrines. He is still revered by the radical masses, who fondly know him as the “grandfather of Yiddish socialism.”

Rosenfeld and Winchevsky are the two Ghetto poets of magnitude. David Edelstadt (1866–1892), the official poet of the anarchist group, was popular in his days, when radicalism as such was at a premium. His poetry, however, hardly deserves the name. Of the lesser Ghetto poets, Michael Kaplan is worth nothing. His Ghetto Klangen are rich in original, homely plaint. His poetic adaptation of the American-Yiddish vernacular abounding in Anglicisms is decidedly novel. Kaplan in his poetry is the immigrant who is destined to live on a foreign soil without striking root, and his songs fall on sympathetic ears.