DINESON, JACOB (1856–1919), Yiddish novelist. Dineson, who was born near Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, received a traditional Jewish education and was influenced by the Haskalah movement. Before turning to Yiddish, he wrote Hebrew articles in Ha-Maggid, Ha-Meliẓ, and Ha-Shahar. His first Yiddish novel, Be-Ovoyn Oves ("For the Parents' Sins," 1876), was banned by the Russian censor. Not until 13 years later and after rebutting H. *Graetz's denunciation of Yiddish, did he publish his second novel, which won the hearts of Yiddish readers and sold more than 200,000 copies: Ha-Ne'ehovim ve-ha-Ne'imim oder der Shvartse Yungermantshik ("The Beloved and the Pleasant or The Black Youth," 1877). He was the pioneer of the Yiddish sentimental novel, and retained the affection of the Yiddish reading public with his Even Negef ("Stumbling Block," 1890), Hershele ("Little Hershl," 1891), and Yosele ("Little Yosl," 1899). He also took the lead in modernizing elementary Jewish education through secular schools which were often called Dineson Schools. A close friend of I.L. Peretz, he helped establish the latter's fame.
Rejzen, Leksikon, s.v.; lnyl, 2 (1958), 514–16; S. Niger, Dertseyler un Romanistn, 1 (1946), 78–83; S. Liptzin, Flowering of Yiddish Literature (1963), 78–83. add. bibliography: N. Meisel, Noente un Eygene (1957), 13–20.
[Chone Shmeruk /
Samuel Spinner (2nd ed.)]