Page 8 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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e w i s h
o o k
n n u a l
sexiest, and most endearingly insolent Adam and Eve since
Genesis”; “Nabakoff is . . . as openly sexual as James was re­
pressed. . .”
I strongly disapprove of literary censorship; therefore, I deplore
the banning of Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint by the Syracuse
University library (reported in the New York Post of May 12,
1969). By the same token, I am concerned about the torrent of
obscenity in the novel, in the cinema, and in the theater {Geese,
Che!, Dionysus in 69). I associate myself with the views voiced in
Obscenity and Public Morality by Harry M. Clor (University of
Chicago). He poses the question whether the Supreme Court, in
offering the protection of the First Amendment to those dealing
with sex in a context that “advocates ideas,” has permitted suffi­
cient safeguards for public morality. The present pattern of no
restraint is not without its perils. Offal tinted in rainbow colors
will not be transformed into a rainbow, even if the colors are
artistically perfect.
Charles Angoff, acknowledging the fiction award presented him
for his novel, Memory of Autumn, at the annual meeting of the
Jewish Book Council of America, made a declaration the defenders
of pornography might well meditate upon. “The genuine novelist,”
said he, “knows it is simply not true that what goes on in the
bathroom and the bedroom is more real than what goes on in
the living room and dining room . . . It is not true that physiology
is the equivalent of love.” Coincidentally, on the same day W. H.
Auden stated in his New York Times review of A Nest of Ninnies
by John Ashbery and James Schuyler, “My! What a pleasant sur­
prise in these days to read a novel in which there is not a single
bedroom scene.”
Year after year the appearance of the Jewish Book Annual pro­
claims that there are sophisticated Jewish writers who are not
blinded by the allurements and the blandishments of Mammon
and Eros. Unlike the small but highly talented and highly vocal
gentry who feel persecuted by their own Jewishness and, consciously
or unconsciously, seek sublimation in the aberration that Jewish­
ness is a chronic sickness, the writers represented in this volume
of the Annual have added a robust and positive dimension to Jew­
ish culture. They have made an enduring contribution to Hebrew
letters; they have associated themselves with the affirmation that
expanding the frontiers of Jewish knowledge is an imperative
urgency for Jewish survival.
Ahad Ha-Am epitomized this survival factor in his declaration:
“Learning, learning, learning; that is the secret of Jewish sur­