Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 830

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 830


This is the grave of Bernard Gorin.

Born Isaac Godio in 1868 in what is today Lithuania, Gorin became a leading figure in the Yiddish intellectual world both in his home and in the U.S. Information on him is surprisingly hard to find today; he’s basically forgotten. But he was a big deal at the time. He started writing as a young man, publishing his first story, “Memories from the Heder,” in 1889. He published many stories, on his own and in anthologies. He started editing his own series of Yiddish literature in 1893. The following year, he published a translation of Dickens’ David Copperfield into Yiddish.

In 1894, like many leading Jewish intellectuals around this time, Gorin immigrated to the United States, living in New York. He learned English fairly quickly and started publishing in both languages. He became a leading Yiddish theater critic by 1908. He also became a historian of the Yiddish theater, publishing a two-volume history of it in 1918, the first large-scale treatise on the matter. He died in 1925. He was remembered and beloved in the Yiddish literary community at this time. His stories were collected and anthologized in a volume in 1927. But after that, he fell from public consciousness and remains mostly unknown and unread today. Even Googling his name reveals all of two hits before you get into more modern people named Bernard Gorin who aren’t even prominent.

Bernard Gorin is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Queens, New York.

This post was sponsored by LGM reader donations. Thanks! Even as this isn’t the longest post, at least I was able to drive a little a bit of attention to this forgotten literary figure. If you would like this series to visit other American theater critics, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. George Jean Nathan is in Hawthorne, New York and Brooks Atkinson is in Hartsdale, New York. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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