Page 37 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 24

Basic HTML Version

2 9
American Short Novels
American Novelists. A Hebrew A n ­
thology of American Verse,
mostly in Reuben Avinoam’s trans­
lation, attests to love for American poetry: fifty-one American
poets with an aggregate of two hund red and forty-nine poems
are represented in the book. M inor and major poets, the earliest
and the contemporary poets, were translated with sensitive care:
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1678), the first American poet who was
characterized as “the ten th muse, lately sprung up in America”
and Emily Dickinson, the Sappho of New England; John Green-
leaf W h ittie r and Edgar Allan Poe. Some memorable poems have
been included in the
Edwin Markham’s “T he Man
w ith the Hoe,” Poe’s “Annabel Lee,” Sandburg’s “Prairie,”
Robinson Jeffers’s “Shine, Perishing Republic,” Conrad Aiken’s
“Music I Heard w ith You,” Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Renas­
cence” and Langston Hughes’s “T he Negro.” Another Hebrew
poet, Hillel Bavli, has done much to popularize American poetry
in a series of essays. He no t only wrote engagingly about poets
like Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg, Amy Lowell and Edgar
Lee Masters, bu t illustrated his literary evaluations w ith transla­
tions from their works.
American prose was well served with Solomon Wiseman’s
Mesapperim Amerikaiyyim.
T h e title-page in English
Short Novels—
lacks precision: the book is an anthology of Amer­
ican short stories. Somewhat less ambitious than Avinoam’s
A Hebrew Anthology of American Verse,
it contains twenty-eight
stories by American writers and it ranges, chronologically and
geographically, over a wide area of literary endeavor. Early
writers are represented: Washington Irving and Hawthorne, Poe
and Henry James. But the emphasis is on twentieth century
writers: Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Thu rbe r,
William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck and Ernest
Hemingway. T h e stories are sensitively selected and translated.
Such American classics as Washington Irving’s “R ip van W inkle,”
Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path ,” and Faulkner’s “A Rose for
Emily,” have found their way in to the anthology. Wallenrod’s
Mesappere Amerikah
(.American Novelists)
is an evaluation
of the chief representatives of American prose from Washington
Irving to John Steinbeck. Together with Wiseman’s anthology,
it surveys the field of American fiction for the Hebrew reader.
There is an increasing preoccupation in Israel with the so-called
Jewish writers in America: Bellow, Malamud and Philip Roth,
Mailer and Fiedler. Even a Wouk and a Schulberg have aroused
interest in Israel. They are being translated, dissected, evaluated.
T h e ir Jewishness and un-Jewishness are puzzling factors: their
faint aspirations toward Jewish identity as well as their pattern
of estrangement and alienation from the Jewish community.
T h e ir types and characters, often men and women w ithout ideas