Page 140 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
Kressel himself from his writings on Sokolow. For a num be r o f
characteristic traits a re common to these two prolific self-made
men.
Ano ther aspect o f Kressel’s work is his ex trao rd inary achieve­
ment in the field o f Hebrew lexicography, his two-volume
Cy­
clopedia of Modern Hebrew Literature,
which earned fo r him the
coveted Bialik Prize. According to Kressel, “This is the first a t­
tempt, in Hebrew or in any o th e r language, to summarize the
achievements o f m odern Hebrew litera tu re from its inception at
the beginning o f the eigh teen th century until the p resen t.” T he
work includes au tho rs who con tribu ted to all types o f literary
genres: poetry and drama; fiction and essays; philosophy and
criticism; and even the natura l sciences. T he whole range o f
literary creativity in the Hebrew language over the last th ree
hund red years has been encompassed in this
Cyclopedia.
While rabbinic and hasidic literature have not been inc luded in
this major reference work because they requ ire ano ther fram e o f
reference, it is noteworthy tha t Hebrew creativity in all parts o f
the world has been amply covered. All studies or writings in
Hebrew as a
linguafranca
have been included. I f an au tho r wrote
in ano ther language as well, tha t may briefly be mentioned . How­
ever, the reader who is interested in Jewish creativity in o the r
languages can have recourse to o the r sources.
All the entries about the au thors include biographical as well as
bibliographical data. Some o f the data abou t the lives, literary
development and works o f each writer appear in this work fo r the
first time. T he sources from which Kressel has drawn cover the
entire range o f Hebrew literature , including periodicals and
newspapers. In addition he has made wide use o f personal ques­
tionnaires in the case o f contemporary writers.
SINGLEHANDED EFFORT
All in all, this is the result o f painstaking and meticulous labor
which has been carried ou t by one person , and it rep resen ts thirty
years o f sustained and diligent research. Such a project is usually
undertaken by an institution which can engage a team o f special­
ists. In this case, only one person has bo rne the en tire responsibil­
ity and he has carried out his task with grea t expertise. Naturally
there are some mistakes o r omissions, bu t they are surprisingly o f
a m inor character.