Page 137 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 17 (1958-1959)

Basic HTML Version

A
bramow icz
—A
m er ican
Y
iddish
B
ooks
131
in the journals
Yung Yisrael
and
Goldene Keyt.
W ith the recent
expansion of the publishing program of the
Peretz-Bibliotek,
they have been enabled to issue their works in book form.
I f we assume that the Yiddish book production reflects, in a
measure, the needs of the Yiddish reader, the past year revealed
that he had an interest not only in new works but also in those
of the older Yiddish writers and of foreign literatures. Nearly
twenty new editions of previously published books and eleven
translations appeared.
As in previous years,
belles-lettres
occupied the dominant
position in Yiddish literature. In the area of prose, American
Jewish life was in the foreground. Hanan Ayalti in his novel
Beyond Brooklyn
and Eliezer Blum, L . Hanukov, L. Lasavin,
M. Nudelman, N. Segalovsky and I. Friedland in their stories,
were concerned with this theme. They portrayed the daily lives
of average men and women; their approach was realistic, often
saturated with sympathetic humor.
In terms of quantity, the Yiddish literary production in Israel
took second place. Yossel B irshtein ’s
On Narrow Alleys
is a
psychological novel in which the author revealed, with ob jec­
tivity, both the positive and negative sides of the human soul
and of the collective life in a Kibutz. T h e stories of Mendl Man,
A. Karpinovich and Y. Baraban dealt with the lives of new
immigrants who must surmount their inner and outer difficulties
until they finally become acclimated to their new life in the
land. T h e traditional life of East European Jewry was still a
source of inspiration for Yiddish literature.
Yekhiel Hofer’s
A Courtyard on Pokorna Street
is a chronicle
of Jewish life in Warsaw in the last quarter of the past century.
Although the scope of the narrator is broad, the tempo is slow,
as if the author was trying to capture every detail of that life
which still remains in his memory. Still another approach is
found in the short dramatic stories of Peretz Granatshtein,
People of Yesterday.
Bo th writers have a common purpose:
the presentation of a picture of life of the past, shorn of its
romantic adornments.
T h e
H u rban
was another theme which, it seems, will not
disappear from Yiddish literature. T h e treatment of this sub­
jec t varied with the interests and abilities of the particular
writers. In Moshe Dluznowsky’s novel,
As a T r e e in the F ield ,
the accent is on dramatic experiences. Another approach is
found in the writings of Pinkhos W einer who describes the
suffering of children and helpless people in the hands of Nazi
murderers. T h e contrast between the innocence of those who
were martyred and the guilt of the assailants makes a deep
impression.
Much should be made of two works which are not in the
main stream of Yiddish literature. They are
Queen Mariamne,