Page 95 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 30

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SlLBERSCHLAG — B lALIK AT THE CENTENARY
8 3
and writers, a section devoted to unpublished manuscripts by
Bialik and essays on Bialik.
Linguists and critics like Lachower, Avrunin and Sdan
have mined Bialik’s philological contributions to the Hebrew
language from his poetry, his sparse fiction, his few essays on
language and literature, his contributions to the Academy of
Hebrew Language which he graced with his membership, his
speeches, his letters and his conversations. Yet Bialik is not likely
to impress the poetry of the seventies and the coming decades. With
his attachment to a dying past and with his aspiration to a na­
tionalist future. Bialik marks the end of a road. He shed a
literary brilliance over shattered contemporaries in disintegrating
talmudic academies and over their burning hopes for a resuscitated
homeland. And yet, if culture is essentially an incarnation of a
people’s religion—as T. S. Eliot maintains—then Bialik is the re­
ligious poet
par excellence.
For he extended, to paraphrase Eliot
again, esthetic sensibility into spiritual perception, spiritual per­
ception into esthetic sensibility.