Page 177 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 19

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A b r am ow ic z — A m e r i c a n Y id d ish B o o k s
171
their lands. The portrayal of the catastrophe period was a
considerable achievement thanks to several young writers who,
shunning cliches and melodrama, found artistic means to de­
scribe the horrible experiences of the Nazi-era in a forceful and
personal manner.
In the field of poetry the forefront was held by the Israeli
group. The gay and lilting tunes of life in the Old-New Land
dominated their writings, but the hasidic, religious and folklore
motives of the Old Country were also strongly represented. A
timely anthology by Mordecai Joffe,
Eretz Israel in Yiddish
Literature
, emphasized ideals and attachments central to much
of contemporary Yiddish poetry. American Yiddish poetry was
represented by several names enjoying an established reputation
in Yiddish letters.
Historical writings included popularly written books for the
general public as well as scholarly monographs, especially on
the period of the catastrophe. Several publications appeared on
the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Dubnow’s birth. The
greatest activity was, as usual, in the field of
Hurban
literature,
Numerous memorial volumes commemorating destroyed Jewish
communities, personal memoirs and several diaries of the era
were added to the vast body of documentation on the catastrophe.
There were also numerous memoirs of happier periods in Jewish
life, among them new volumes by two well-known Jewish
theatrical figures which should be of interest to all students
of the Yiddish stage.
The Yiddish essay, represented by some of its masters, dealt
with various aspects of Jewish and general life. Literary criticism
was advanced by several new publications, including a third
volume of the biographical dictionary of Yiddish literature and a
new volume of writings of the late critic, S. Niger. There were
also new publications in the fields of linguistics and education.
BELLES-LETTRES
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