Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

Basic HTML Version

H I S TOR I CA L F I CT I ON ON
J EWI SH THEME S
A Selected Bibliography
By
H
arold
U .
R
ibalow
I
n a t t e m p t i n g
to compile an interesting and useful list of
historical fiction dealing with Jewish themes, Jewish life and
character, the compiler must first try to define what is meant by
historical fiction.
According to a specialist in the field, A. T. Dickinson, Jr.,
“The historical novel is a fictional narrative in which there is
identifiable time, place, and historical agent, written sometime
after the event or period depicted/' Mr. Dickinson lists four
requirements: “There must be identifiable time, either by date
or approximate period; there must be identifiable place, either
by definite locality or general area; there must be an historical
agent, whether a person, an event or a recognizable social, polit-
ical, or economic phenomenon; and finally, there is a
concept of
past time.”
This final concept is the controlling factor. There-
fore, Mr. Dickinson would exclude novels written contemporane-
ously with the event or the condition the authors describe.
All the titles included in this list fall within the above defini-
tions, with the added factor that every book (as noted) deals with
one or another aspect of Jewish history.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how many valuable books
could be included in such a list, although not all of them are
available in book stores. Titles that can be purchased are indi-
cated by asterisks. Many of the others, if not all, can be borrowed
in libraries. Where the name of a second publisher is given, it
is an indication that a paperbound edition is also available.
The reader will observe that the descriptive sentences offered
here are not evaluative, but merely give the subject of the book
and place it in historical time. Some of these books were con-
troversial when originally published; for example, readers may
differ with the many interpretations of the Biblical personality
of Moses as presented in some of these books. Other Biblical
characters are portrayed by the novelists in original and striking
63