Page 32 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 10 (1951-1952)

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a b a k o f f
OT the least among the noteworthy aspects of book publishing
in Israel is the fact that books have been among the last
commodities to suffer from the general rationing and shortage of
materials. Books are classed among the vital necessities of Israel
and while the tightening of supplies has been reflected in the
publication of limited editions and in a general rise in prices,
the publishing agencies continue with their broad programs.
Israel is still maintaining its quota of approximately 1,000 titles
a year, which marks a considerable increase over the war years.
The large publishing houses, such as Am Oved, publishing arm
of the Histadrut Haovdim, and Sifriat Hapoalim, of the Hashomer
Hatzair, are continuing their practice of presenting subscription
series of books in various fields — original works, translations,
scientific books and the like. Dvir has broadened its activity,
issuing a series of volumes in co-operation with the Hebrew
Writers’ Association and launching a library of pocket-books
under the title of
Dvir La am.
Mossad Bialik continued to publish
solid literary works, while Mossad Harav Kook issued a number
of additional religious volumes and texts. Private publishers and
book-sellers have also shown initiative in undertaking large-scale
literary projects.
That a ready market and eager reading public exists for the
serious Hebrew book is clear from the steady expansion of the
publishing industry. At the same time, there has been an inevitable
growth in popular literature, which makes use of slang and
stresses the action-packed short story and the realistic novel.
The development of this type of literature was accelerated by the
new crop of writers brought to the forefront by the war.
Among the writers that reach a large reading public are S.
Yizhar, who while he uses experimental forms belongs to the more
conservative among the story writers, Moshe Shamir, Nathan
Shaham, Yehoshua Bar-Yosef, Yigal Mosenson, Mordecai Tabib,
Matti Meged, Aharon Meged, S. Nitzan, Dan Ben-Amoz and
M. Talmi. In poetry, too, we find reflected a new tempo and a
new style in the writings of some of the younger poets, such as
Haim Guri, Amir Gilboa, Aharon Amir, Pinhas Peli and A. Hillel.
In order to offset the tendency on the part of many readers to