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About this Item


  • The Magician.


  • This little Yiddish book, with its illustrations by Marc Chagall, is the product of several converging trends in East European Jewry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was written by Y. L. Peretz (1852--1915), a towering figure of the Jewish Enlightenment revered for his stories, plays, and poems in both Hebrew and Yiddish. Like many of Peretz's works, Der Kuntsenmakher (variously translated as The Magician or The Trickster) draws its inspiration from the folktales of Hassidic Jewry, in this case the legends surrounding the wonder-working figure of Elijah the Prophet, who, disguised and unknown, visits an impoverished God-fearing couple on Passover Eve to transform their poverty into wealth. The story was first published several years before this edition, which is noteworthy for its black and white illustrations by Chagall, who at the time of publication was already a renowned artist with a unique relationship to the Jewish cultural milieu and its symbols. In a letter of 1923 Chagall recorded the circumstances surrounding his drawings for this book: "I didn't even know Peretz personally. Only when a publisher (I don't remember which) asked me to do drawings for one of Peretz's tales, 'The Magician,' did I start reading. I was surprised . . . the poor and splendid Jewish images and figures float up from the little white pages. . . . And really, from childhood on, haven't they dangled anxiously inside us--those tunes, Sabbath days, Friday evenings, velvet caps, your first loves, landscapes breathing with psalms, the last tones of the weary cantor, and Jews, Jews on the earth and in the sky."


  • Chagall, Marc, 1887-1985 Artist.
  • Peretz, Isaac Leib, 1851 or 1852-1915 Author.

Created / Published

  • Vilnius : Vilner ferlag fun B.A. Kletskin, 1917.


  • -  Russian Federation
  • -  1917
  • -  Elijah (Biblical prophet)
  • -  Folklore
  • -  Yiddish literature


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  Original resource extent: 13 pages : illustrations.
  • -  Original resource at: National Library of Russia.
  • -  Content in Yiddish.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021666641

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

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Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Chagall, Marc, Artist, and Isaac Leib Peretz. The Magician. Vilnius: Vilner ferlag fun B.A. Kletskin, 1917. Pdf.

APA citation style:

Chagall, M. & Peretz, I. L. (1917) The Magician. Vilnius: Vilner ferlag fun B.A. Kletskin. [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Chagall, Marc, Artist, and Isaac Leib Peretz. The Magician. Vilnius: Vilner ferlag fun B.A. Kletskin, 1917. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.