Page 52 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 10 (1951-1952)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
46
Jewish separatism. On the Continent, however, the reaction was
more favorable. George Eliot was especially impressed by David
Kaufmann’s German essay on the novel in the
Monatschrift fu r
Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums
and she persuaded her
publisher to have this essay reprinted in an English translation.
But it was chiefly in Eastern Europe that her ideas fell on fruitful
soil. They inspired Eliezar Ben Yehuda and David Frishman;
they warmed the hearts of the pioneers of BILU; they fired the
imagination of the leaders of the Hoveve Zion movement.
George Eliot’s vision came to fruition with the founding of
Israel. The legend of the heroic Jew, which she introduced into
English literature, became the dominant legend in the public
mind when Israel began to forge its own fate, when the Yishuv,
with the help of Daniel Derondas from various corners of the
globe, willed perilous self-emancipation and triumphed over the
many countries that encompassed it and harried it by day and by
night. The new state recognized its debt to George Eliot by giving
her name to a street in the white metropolis of Tel-Aviv that arose
on the sand-dunes of the Mediterranean.
On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of
Daniel
Deronda
, the wisdom and insight of the English novelist are
apparent to Jews the world over and tribute is being paid to this
mid-Victorian seeress as a non-Jewish pioneer of Jewish rebirth.