Page 186 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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His enthusiasm had cooled off for the ideal which had gripped him
when in Vitebsk he had helped to organize the afore-mentioned
“B’nai Zion” club.
“Until Vienna,” he wrote, “I was a Hovevei-Zionist. In Vienna
I became intimately acquainted with the Social-Democratic move-
ment, began to study socialism and became converted to it.
Through my medicine and through my pen (he dreamt) I will be
able to serve the Jewish proletariat. Through my satire, ‘The
Great Humanitarian,’ I had intended to reveal the true likeness of
the bourgeois Jew . . . to throw a bomb into the camp of the
This bomb, together with a few other stories that contained a
large amount of “dynamite,” he gave to Mordecai Spector for the
latter’s almanac,
Der Hoizfreint.
This does not mean that upon
his return to Warsaw from Vienna his connection with Peretz
was weakened. On the contrary, the two now became even closer
friends. Pinski, who had become more socialistically than nation-
alistically inclined, was not only himself willing to help Peretz in
the latter’s work of spreading knowledge and socially progressive
ideas among Jews. He also brought Peretz a promise of literary
cooperation on the part of a group of Jewish students with whom
he became friendly in Vienna.
Nothing came of this promise, but Pinski himself around 1893
or 1894 began to take an active part in the popular, scientific
publications which were known as “ I. L. Peretz’s Periodicals.”
He wrote for the miscellany
Literatur un Leben
in 1894 which
appeared under Peretz’s editorship, and particularly for the
Yom-tov Bletlach
, publications devoted to literature and
social problems which would appear on every Jewish holiday, even
an unimportant one, and on fast days, and which served as a
substitute for a regular Yiddish periodical, for the issuance of
which no government permit could be obtained.
For these publications Pinski wrote a popular, scientific treatise,
“The Monkeys,” under the pseudonym of D. Pulus, and a story,
“Reb Shloime,” whose purpose was to point out the importance of
a modern education. There he also published his story, “Hayyim
the Servant.” I t has greater literary importance than Pinski’s
former stories. But it, too, has a militantly social tendency and
may be regarded as the beginning of that school of literature which
later became known as “Proletarian Literature.” The difference
between its representatives in America, and later in Soviet Russia,
and Pinski’s stories of working-class life consisted in the fact that
the others accentuated the “worker” in the workingman, while
Pinski revealed the “man” in the worker. In his stories he helped
us hear the social protest of the exploited person as the protest,