Page 170 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
156
novel
The I l legi t imate Chi ld,
written before the last world war
but only now published. In works created since the Nazi
catastrophe (for example,
New Times,
by David Flinker, and
The Synagogue Courtyard,
by Hayim Grade), the realistic
portrayal is mingled with romantic sentiments and symbolic in-
sinuations.
The
Hurban
literature presents not only the physical annihila-
tion that was wrought but also, primarily, the psychological im-
pact on the souls of those who remained alive: religious faltering,
political disappointments and moral conflicts which have broken
human personalities. The literary forms employed are varied—
short episodes, written in the heat of the moment, as well as
profound psychological novels. The Israeli theme in a number
of novels and short stories is, in a measure, an extention of the
Hurban
literature as it expresses the plight of the new immigrants
for whom the battle for “a place under the sun” is not ended,
even when they arrive on the shores of Israel.
When dealing with American Jewish life, Yiddish writers still
concentrate on questions of Jewish identity, assimilation and
Christian-Jewish relations. The personal inclinations of the
writers often mar the artistic objectivity of their works. Among
the American Yiddish fiction writers there are several new names:
J. L. Beker and Elhanan Henson of Canada, Clara Steinberg
and David Geist of Latin America and Raphael Federman of
the United States. These are mostly middle-aged writers who
until now did not engage in professional writing.
Yiddish poetry reveals a broad scope and an intense vitality.
The general character of the poetry is modernistic with a strong
sense of reality working hand in hand with the visionary and
metaphysical. Besides lyric poetry, there are also ballads and
historical poems. There are Yiddish translations from Hebrew
and other languages. For the first time there has appeared a
Yiddish volume devoted to the poems of the great Saul Tcherni-
chovski in a translation by I. J. Schwartz.
Two new works in the field of Jewish historiography attempt
to give a synthesis of Jewish history in the light of historical
materialism. These are:
The History of the Jewish People:
Newes t Era,
by Raphael Mahler, and
The History of Jews in
Poland: Unt i l the End of the 15th Century,
by Ber Mark. The
Jewish Encyclopedic Handbooks issued a volume devoted to
Jewish communities on the American continent, while the Jewish
community in Uruguay published a history of the Yishuv on the
occasion of its fiftieth anniversary. M. Bernstein, a young his-
torian, who settled in Argentina has inaugurated a series of pub-
lications on Jewish history. The
Hurban
output has been enriched
by significant memoirs of the Nazi period and, especially, by
memorial volumes.
Jewish Thought in Modern Times,
vol. 1, edited by Abraham