Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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Carmi’s
The Brass Snake
are slim little volumes, ably illustrated,
which sincerely try to give expression to this generation’s prob-
lems and doubts, carving out for themselves a new style in a
language still thought dead a mere sixty years ago.
In the presence of a large host of writers, teachers and pub-
lishers, Hebrew Book Week draws annually multitudes of book
lovers from all over the country and helps popularize the 1,500
volumes published during the current year. About three-quarters
of these were original works written by over 600 local authors,
whilst the rest were translations of such world classics as Dante’s
Divine Comedy,
Virgil’s
Aeneid
and Hobbes’
Leviathan.
Middle East Record,
the maiden publication of the Reuven
Shiloah Research Centre, was welcomed by scholars of Middle
Eastern affairs in many countries as a refreshingly objective
survey of the entire panorama of the Middle East. New editions
of the Bible, the Talmud and the outstanding works of Jewish
world literature have been re-issued during this year in popular
editions and distributed by local newspapers, to stimulate their
circulations.
Arab L i te rary Re v i va l
Hand in hand with the search for a genuinely autochthonous
Hebrew literature, there goes an Arab literary revival which
during 1963 accounted for 16 new books by Israeli Arab authors.
Twenty-one Arab newspapers, including two dailies, cater to all
tastes and professions, from agriculture and poultry-raising to
social welfare. Poetry, however, is the most flourishing form in
Arabic, to which all periodicals dedicate at least two pages per
issue. The most constant theme treated by the poets is that of
peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors. Thus Rashid Hus-
sein, in his message to a Jewish poet published in
At Dawn,
de-
clared that they both must forget what was bitter in the past and
seek out the sweetness of future brotherhood.
The Arab short story, too, shows welcome signs of progress.
Like its Hebrew sister, it strives for realism. Concentrating upon
Arab society and the hardships and hopes of the fellahin, Mrs.
Najwa Qa’war Farah-perhaps the only woman in Arab letters
today—is distinguished by her powerful personality and pene-
trating studies of human emotions. Her volume of short stories
Wayfarers
is well on the way to becoming a bestseller.
Odors and
Echoes,
a collection of blank verse, and
The King of Glory,
a
play based on the life of Jesus of Nazareth, are about to be
translated into Hebrew and English.
The cost of publishing books in Israel is in some respects
lower than in other countries. Thus, the costs of printing, proof­