Page 65 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 1

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He admired the generosity of Jews. Writing of Mr. Rosen, the
furrier, he said, “There was in him a vast pride of race, a vast
pride in the toil and intelligence which had brought him wealth.
For this reason, Mr. Rosen had a very princely quality—the
princely quality that almost all rich Jews have, and that few
rich Christians ever get.”
He extolled the hunger for learning of the Jewish student, and
in one of his noblest passages called “The Promise of America,”
he wrote of the Jewish boy, sitting in a dark room in Brooklyn,
poring over books with his near-sighted eyes. Why? “Because,
brother, he is burning in the night. He sees the class, the lecture-
room, the shining apparatus of gigantic laboratories, the open
field of scholarship and pure research, certain knowledge, and
the world distinction of an Einstein name.”
Similar Jewish types to those found in Thomas Wolfe’s novels,
or similar remarks about Jews are found in
Europa
by Robert
Briffault;
The Last Puri tan
by George Santayana. In Eric
Knight’s popular novel
Thi s Above Al l ,
the American girl re-
sponds to the Englishman’s assertion that Hitler must be defeated
because of what he has done to the little countries of Europe and
the Jews with these words, “Oh, the Jews. I ’m sick of hearing
about them. They ’re not worth going to war for. Oh, I suppose
they’re all right. . . . But they’re not worth fighting for. They
don’t fight themselves. . . . No, they just want to sit and make
money.”
As counterpoint to the Decadent Jew corrupting the arts,
F. Scott Fitzgerald has created in his incomplete novel
The Last
Tycoon
the figure of Monroe Stahr who created an artistic
empire, whose inner force was not primarily the desire for money
but the creation of a new artistic medium. I t is considered the
best piece of creative writing to date about an important phase
of American life—Hollywood, and the motion picture industry.
II
The Persecuted and Refugee Jew has become a stereotype in
present-day novels. A flood of such stories has appeared, one of
the earliest and still among the best being
The Morta l Storm
by
Phyllis Bottome. A high point in this tale is reached when the
old, disillusioned Professor Johann Roth tells his youngest son
to be proud of his Jewishness.
“My boy,” he said in his low, deep tones, “to be a Jew is
to belong to an old harmless race that has lived in every
country of the world; and that has enriched every country
it has lived in.
“It is strong with a strength that has outlived persecutions.
It is to be wise against ignorance, honest against piracy,
harmless against evil, industrious against idleness, kind
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