Page 238 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
218
accumulated joy of generations. Pinchas Mendel, the Rabbi of
Lentshitz in Singer’s
O f A World Tha t Is N o More,
represents
Jewish trust and noble, carefree rebellion against the yoke of
“Parnasse”; Chaim Grade’s Halakhah-Jews symbolize Jewish
life under the burdensome yet joyous discipline of the Law.
Papias in Opatoshu’s
T h e Last R e v o l t
and Oizer Heshel in
Bashevis Singer’s
Family Moskat
personify Jewish intelligence
sharpened by generations of skeptical contemplation of individual
destiny, Jewish destiny, human destiny.
As for the second aspect of artistic achievement, style, Yiddish
prose has also made miraculous progress. No other literature can
boast of comparable linguistic attainments, such refinement and
enrichment of words, sentence structure, imagery, in the short
span of a few decades. What a wealth of stylistic nuances, what a
rainbow of stylistic colors on the comparatively small hemisphere
of Yiddish: from Sholem Asch’s chanting prose, dramatic sum-
maries and festive, oratorical rhythm reminiscent of the Bible to
Lamed Shapiro’s prickly, subtle polemics and ironic resonances
in
N ew Yorkish;
from Opatoshu’s dynamic and solid heaping of
verbs to B. Glassman’s and S. Miller’s piercing, penetrating lan-
guage, probing into the soul’s depth; from 1.1. Singer’s inten-
tionally sober anonymity to Moshe Nadir’s innovations in word
strategy and Jacob Glatstein’s idiomatic, subtle, intellectual ex-
hortations; from A. Raboy’s pastoral Doina-song to I. Bashevis
Singer’s slender but intoxicating chamber-music!
In our generation, the genius of Yiddish has produced an en-
tire prose symphony of word, sound and image, and displayed it
to the gaze of all our people scattered throughout the world.