Page 113 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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SILBERSCHLAG / HARRY SACKLER
107
budding author than the Hebrew and English press. But he
preferred Hebrew and used opportunities — as they presented
themselves — for publication of his plays and fictive work in
Hebrew. With sophisticated argumentation he maintained that
the three languages of his choice are one triple language: “ap­
proach and goal, theme and version turn that which is written into
one language even though it is a triple language to all appear­
ances.”
Poetry in lyrical stance was essentially a creative effort of Sack­
ler’s younger years. Since he sensed that it was not the most
suitable idiom for his sombre, rationalist imagination, he aban­
doned it after initial and immature effusions since his fourteenth
year. The early stories and plays in Yiddish, interlaced with sen­
sationalism, gave way to dramatic refinements in his mature
years. In 1907 he published in the daily
Forward
his first story, “In
Gold Chains” — a monolog of a lunatic. And his early one-acters
Yokel the Thief
and
Underworld
enjoyed brief popularity in acting
clubs and in professional performances before the first world
war. With his first Hebrew play
Yosi o f Yokeret
he established his
reputation as a serious dramatist. In the Yiddish version, under
the title
Der H eiliger Tyran
(The Holy Tyrant), it won the hearts of
Jewish audiences.
After his retirement in 1955 Sackler redoubled his literary
efforts with exemplary assiduity. Before retirement Sackler had
published four volumes of plays in Yiddish, stories in Yiddish and
Hebrew, poems in Hebrew. In the last nineteen years of his life, in
the uninterrupted leisure at his disposal, he brought out his
Hebrew novel on Abraham
A nd Count The Stars.
Long in gesta­
tion, it achieved primary importance in the totality of his work.
For in that novel, finished at the end of his life, he wished to
depict, paradoxically, “the beginning of that strange phenome­
non in the history of the world, the phenomenon of our people.”
The wish became reality: The master of historicism in Jewish
literature re-created on a broad historical canvass the compulsory
drive of Abraham to found a new people with a new message and
mission to humanity.
AMER ICAN SAGA
In the period of his retirement Sackler also completed the novel
Between Earth and H eaven .
In an uncompleted English version and