Isaac Bashevis Singer

Literary Birthday – 11 November – Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer was born 11 November 1903, and died 24 July 1991.

His exact date of birth is unknown but it has been recorded that it was probably 11 November 1903, a date that Singer gave to his official biographer, Paul Kresh.

Isaac Bashevis Singer Quotes

  1. When a writer tries to explain too much, he’s out of time before he begins.
  2. Actually, the true story of a person’s life can never be written. It is beyond the power of literature. The full tale of any life would be both utterly boring and utterly unbelievable.
  3. Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.
  4. The very essence of literature is the war between emotion and intellect, between life and death. When literature becomes too intellectual – when it begins to ignore the passions, the emotions – it becomes sterile, silly, and actually without substance.
  5. The storyteller and poet of our time, as in any other time, must be an entertainer of the spirit in the full sense of the word, not just a preacher of social or political ideals. There is no paradise for bored readers and no excuse for tedious literature that does not intrigue the reader, uplift him, give him the joy and the escape that true art always grants.
  6. When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am grown up, they call me a writer.
  7. Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.
  8. A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.
  9. Originality is not seen in single words or even in sentences. Originality is the sum total of a man’s thinking or his writing.
  10. The waste-paper basket is the writer’s best friend.

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish-born Jewish-American author. He was a leading figure in the Yiddish literary movement and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. His memoir, A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw, won the U.S. National Book Award in Children’s Literature in 1970, while his collection A Crown of Feathers won the U.S. National Book Award in Fiction in 1974.

Source for image

Photographer: Israel Press and Photo Agency (I.P.P.A.) / Dan Hadani collection, National Library of Israel / CC BY 4.0, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 21st November 2014