Page 20 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
14
thing that gives me personally a most profound pleasure. It
is a quality not very easy to describe. But I would define it as
a kind of tender sophistication; it is an emphasis on
f e e l i n g . . .
but feeling rendered with high intelligence. It is not sentimental,
not in any way flamboyant. (I am speaking here of the
best
of our writers.) It is quiet, it is sober . . . but at the same time
it is luminous with understanding, radiant with imaginative
sympathy and, above all, forgiving. There is, in the greatest
Jewish short stories, a kind of wise, patient, tender forgiveness
lor all our faults. And there is also what is to me almost the
most beautiful thing in the whole of our literature, an em-
phasis on morality, on the value of goodness.
Now I have been obliged in this necessarily brief survey of
what is an extremely large field, to leave out a great many
names and titles. You may have found yourselves, as I have
been talking, in violent disagreement with me. I hope you have!
It will at least show that our writers are being read and thought
about and considered as an important part of Jewish life
everywhere. But if you
are
going to disagree with me I feel I
must in all fairness warn you that I come, I am proud to say,
from Lithuanian stock. And, as Peretz says in one of his stories:
Go argue with a Litvak!