Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 22

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Difficile liberte,
in many ways the most important book pub­
lished in France since the war.
Another Jewish publishing house, the Keren Hasefer, which
tried without much success to emulate the Jewish Publication
Society of America, also endeavored to set up a pocketbook series,
but gave up after four titles. The same happened to a similar
attempt by the French section of the World Jewish Congress,
which ended with its fifth booklet.
The Presses Universitaires de France, the French counterpart
of the Oxford or Columbia University Press, also set up a
Jewish series called
Sinai, collection des sources d’Israel,
which
had somewhat more ambitious aims and purposed to reach the
Jewish intellectual “elite.” Its first project was the translation
of Salo W. Baron’s
A Social and Religious History of the Jews,
of which four volumes have already been published. Other
translations include Buber’s
Moses,
Ramhal’s
Mesillat Yesharim,
Maimonides’
Sefer HaMada
and Halkin’s
Modern Hebrew Liter­
ature.
The only original effort is a translation of Psalms by
Andre Chouraqui.
The Editions de Minuit have another series:
Collection Aleph,
which includes translations of works by Heschel, Goitein, Ben
Zwi and Ben Gurion. This editor published Fleg’s latest w o rk -
ins attempted translation of Genesis and Exodus.
Among the Impor tant Writers
As one may readily notice, the number of translations exceeds
by far the original contributions. This does not mean French
Jewry failed to produce after the war a number of important
writers whose talents did not alienate them completely from
Jewish values. One could say that two kinds of writers emerged
—the first centered completely on the Jewish catastrophe in
Europe, the second turned to explaining and transmitting the
Jewish inheritance.
To the first group belong such writers as Anna Langfus,
Andre Schwartzbart, Elie Wiesel and Manes Sperber. Anna Lang­
fus’ two novels,
Le sel et le souffre
and
Les bagages de sable,
managed to integrate the Nazi horrors and persecutions in her
experience without destroying or minimizing the despair they
had evoked.
Schwartzbart’s
Dernier des Justes
is known well enough. We
must only mention here that the publication of his book pre­
cipitated a very important controversy among French literary
circles, Jewish and non-Jewish. Many questioned the authenticity
of Schwartzbart’s experience. He had not known the concentra­