Page 105 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

Basic HTML Version

8 5
M
ad iso n
— J
ew i sh
B
ook
in
A
m e r ic a n
P
u b l ish in g
Among authors, novelists normally gain the widest recogni-
tion. By the end of the 1930’s there were around sixty Jewish
writers of fiction with some claim to prominence. Many of them
were deliberately or subconsciously sloughing off their Jewish-
ness, and a few suffered from a self-hatred that caused their
Jewish characters to emerge as caricatures. Jewish writers also
entered the field of literary criticism and the various academic
disciplines, and their work made its impress upon American
publishing.
A measure of the interest in Jewish books by American pub-
lishers is seen in their acceptance of Yiddish books in English
translation. Pinski’s
The Treasure
was followed by the sporadic
publication of such books as Sholem Asch’s
Mottke the Vagabond
(1917), Pinski’s
King David and His Wives
(1923),
Arnold Leven-
berg(
1928), and
Generations of Noah Edon (
1931). In the 1930’s
Knopf undertook to bring out I. I. Singer’s novels and issued
four of them with considerable critical success. Also in the 1930’s,
and continuing until his death two decades later, Putnam pub-
lished the works of Sholem Asch most profitably, several of the
novels becoming top best-sellers. In the 1950’s Farrar, Straus
took over I. Bashevis Singer along with Noonday Press, and has
brought out all his writings with notable enterprise. Other Yid-
dish writers, and of late Sholom Aleichem in particular, have
also been published, as have several collections of Jewish stories
and poems.
The Acceptance of the Jewish Book
The acceptance of the Jewish book as part of American litera-
ture has been considerably accelerated during the past quarter
century. One need only examine the book lists of the
Jewish
Book Annual
to note the increase in their annual publication.
Equally notable is the growing number of Jewish writers in the
lists of American publishers. Among them in the year 1942-43,
for example, were such writers as Milton Steinberg, Joseph
Klausner, O. S. Yanowsky, Solomon Zeitlin, Maurice Samuel,
Albert Halper, G. B. Stern, Delmore Schwartz, Andre Maurois,
S. S. Sassoon, Stefan Zweig, V. Jabotinsky, and S. A. Feinberg.
Ten years later a sampling includes books by such writers as
Joseph Gaer, Will Herberg, Abraham J. Heshel, Alfred Kazin,
Michael Blankfort, Rufus Learsi, Hal Lehrman, A. M. Klein,
Frederic Morton, Samuel Ornitz, Harold Robbins and Anne
Frank. More recent lists are equally impressive, giving evidence
of the prominence of Jewish books and Jewish authors in current
American publishing.