Page 12 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

Basic HTML Version

2
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
modest literary e fforts o f the early H ebrew maskilim are con­
stantly fraugh t with this tension. These intellectuals sought val­
iantly to continue here the pattern o f H eb rew scholarly writing
which they had known in Europe. On the occasion o f the centen­
nial o f the Hebrew periodical
HameassefBaarez Hahadashah
(T h e
Gatherer in the N ew Land ), which appeared in N ew Y o rk in
1881, the ed itor has described the role o f its contributors in
fostering loyalty to the H eb rew language and literature.
I I
T h e r e are many these days who advocate the acquisition o f rare
books or art objects as a hedge against inflation. N o such advice is
o f fe red by Solomon B. F re eh o f in his essay dea ling with the
collecting o f Jewish books. His account o f how he amassed a major
collection o f Responsa works and how he utilized it fo r both
scholarly and practical purposes can o f fe r guidance to all bib­
liophiles and lovers o f the Jewish book. Jewish literature is so
varied and it encompasses so many languages and cultures that
the possibilities o f specialization in collecting are in fin itely varied.
A n interesting deve lopm ent in the publishing f ie ld is the avail­
ability o f “ books on d em and .” T h rou g h this means h igh ly
specialized and ou t-of-print works can be produced without the
need o f repr in ting an entire new edition. In the case o f Russian
Judaica, we have an examp le o f an entire library o f works that is
being produced “ on demand” fo r the large number o f Soviet
Jewish immigrants who have settled in Israel and elsewhere. Zvi
Gitelman has described the varied output o f Russian-Jewish
books and periodicals in Israel and has o f fe re d a number o f
valuable insights into its nature and quality.
Vo lum e 25 o f
the Annual
devo ted considerable attention to the
work o f Shmuel Y o s e f A gnon , the N obe l Prize laureate fo r H e ­
brew literature. Since A g n o n ’s passing in 1970, eight volumes o f
his posthumous writings have appeared under the Schocken im ­
print in Israel. T h e y include, among other items, a fu ll-length
novel o f m odern Israel, two collections o f short stories and an
an thology o f Jewish booklore. By now, this posthumous output
exceeds in volume that which is already included in the author’s
collected works. Rena L ee has surveyed this material and has
evaluated it against the background o f the author ’s total creativ­
ity.