Page 22 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
2
able, however, to assert that there is adequate evidence to support
the belief that such a trilingual literary and cultural chronicle is
an urgent desideratum in the United States.
Looking back in restrospect to Volume 1, we are happy to
report that from among the contributors to that pioneer volume
five are represented in this jubilee volume: Dr. Samuel M.
Blumenfield, Dr. Jacob Kabakoff, Dr. Mordecai Kosover, A.R.
Malachi, and Dr. Menachem G. Glenn. They participated in the
sowing of the seed; now they not only harvest sheaves which have
burgeoned out of their planting, but they continue to sow for the
future cultural largess of the People of the Book. To these col-
leagues we extend a hearty
yeyasher kohakhem.
II
A third reason for hoping Volume 25 will command at least
a modicum of weightier attention is its appearance at a time
when Shmuel Yosef Agnon of Israel and Nelly Sachs of Stock-
holm, Sweden, were selected as joint winners of the coveted Nobel
Prize for Literature. It should not be regarded as an exercise in
chauvinism if we harbor a sense of exultation that in a world
population of over three billion souls, the tiny Jewish minority
of 13,400,000 has provided two more Nobel laureates, bringing
to a total of forty-seven the Jewish recipients of this momentous
award since 1905. To find two Jews planting in a single year
their ensign on the Mount Everest of cultural creativity, is de-
serving of a lavish accolade.
This epic moment in Jewish history is celebrated by three
articles: Judah Stampfer’s “Agnon, the Lyricist of Modern Fic-
tion,” Naftali C. Brandwein’s “S. Y. Agnon: Alienation and
Return,״ and the editor’s “Nelly Sachs—Nobel Laureate.” In addi-
tion, two resolutions sent by the Jewish Book Council, respec-
tively, to Mr. Agnon and Miss Sachs are reproduced here. There
is, indeed, ample cause for rejoicing when modern Hebrew litera-
ture is accorded international recognition through the writings
of an eminent Israeli who speaks in the idiom of the Mishnah
and the Talmud, and when a consummate painter of the Jewish
soul is singled out for her ineffably poignant verse characterized
by the Swedish Academy as “the most intense artistic expression
of the Jewish spirit’s reaction to suffering in our time.”
Widely disparate in their early training, their environment,
their religious profession—Agnon is an observant Jew for whom
special kosher food was prepared when he received his prize in
Stockholm; Miss Sachs, born in Berlin, falls in the category of
the home-born German Jew—both were selected as literary colossi
by virtue of their superb artistry and their superlative craftsman-