Friday, April 15, 2011

The Enigma of Stephanie Rosenthal

We are all used to the phenomenon of the wandering Jew, and to finding a Jew in almost every nook and cranny. But who would have imagined that in the 1920s, a Polish Jewish woman was writing a best-seller in Chinese that was said to be “going like matza water” because half a million copies had been sold.

Prof. Irene Eber, an eminent scholar of Chinese literature and history and of Jews in China, was reading a fascinating travelogue by Mejlekh Ravitch, a Yiddish poet from Warsaw, written while he traveled in China for six months during 1935. Ravitch mentioned having met a landsman, one of the few women writers in the country. This discovery set Eber on a search to uncover the identity of her landsman as well.

No comments: