Page 70 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
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fashion, not necessarily according to traditional views. Even a
book like
The Brothers Ashkenazi
has been assailed by a Jewish
literary historian as “non-Jewish” because the Jewish characters
in the book are not, according to this historian, favorably drawn.
Allowing for differences of literary opinion and granting these
artists their freedom to interpret and imagine their characters
and situations, we find that the historical novels listed here
frequently illuminate the Jewish past and, by and large, persuade
us once again to be proud of it.
The books are listed under four historical periods: the Biblical
period, the Second Commonwealth, the Middle Ages, and from
the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth century.
* A
sc h
, S
h o l e m
Moses. New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1951; Pocket
Books, 1958. 505 p.
Moses, the Law Giver, as seen and interpreted by the famous Yiddish
historical novelist. Mr. Asch follows Moses as a young Egyptian prince
to the time he leads the Children of Israel out of Egypt for forty
years of wandering in the desert.
* F
e u c h tw
ang er
, L
io n
Jeptha and his daughter. New York, New American
Library, 1960. 221 p.
Based on the Biblical story of the warrior and Judge in Israel who,
in seeking victory for his people, makes a vow which eventually costs
him the life of his beloved daughter. Mr. Feuchtwanger draws heavily
from Biblical and Talmudic sources to show why Jephta must live up
to his vow and why and how his daughter accepts her death.
in e m a n
, I
rv ing
Jacob. New York, Random House, 1941. 295 p.
The Hebrew patriarch Jacob tells his life story to his son Joseph.
Mr. Fineman calls this an “autobiographical novel,” and in it he
recounts the relationships between Jacob and his wives Leah and
Rachel, his attitudes toward his brother Esau and his father-in-law
Laban and reflects on love, lust and love for children.
------ . Ruth. New York and London, Harper and Brothers, 1949. 277 p.
A novel which depicts the love of Boaz for Ruth, the alien woman,
and how the Israelites, all lately removed from slavery, learn to
accept the stranger in their midst. Mr. Fineman draws heavily from
the Biblical story and quotes generously from it.
* F
ish e r
, V
ard is
The vallev of vision. Denver, Allen Swallow, 1960; New
York, Pyramid, 1961. 428 p.
A volume in the “Testament of Man” series which is concerned with
Jewish history. This is a novel covering the era of King Solomon and
how he came to believe in monotheism. It was first published in 1951.
b n
a h a v
, A
r i
David and Bathsheba. New York, Crown, 1951.
3 7 5
A Hebrew novelist's rendering of the love affair between King David
and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and how the lovers
are punished for their transgressions.