Page 76 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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64
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
as a labor of love. He compiled a grammar of the Russian lan­
guage for a series of self-instruction books;7 a reader of Russian
proverbs, idioms and conversational pieces for beginners;8 a
German-Russian dictionary;9 and a Russian translation of
Lessing’s aphorisms. But he also perpetrated another of his un­
fortunate (and largely unexplained) literary frauds: he published
a novel in German with the title
Thamar
10 under his own name,
although it was actually his translation of the earliest modern He­
brew novel,
Ahavat Tsiyon
(The love of Zion) by Abraham Mapu
who had written it in 1853 (and whose heroine is the biblical
Tamar). The only intimation of that connection was one line on
the half-title, “Dedicated to the memory of Abraham Mapu.”
This hoax, too, was soon discovered. In his defense, Mandelkern
claimed that the publisher had asked him to sign the book as its
author, not its translator, but the incident tarnished his already
badly damaged literary reputation even further.
Undaunted, he persevered in his literary efforts, among which
were beautiful Hebrew translations of famous poems, notably
Lord Byron’s
Hebrew melodies,
published as
Shire Yeshurun
(Songs
of Jeshurun)11 and parts of Heinrich Heine’s similarly named
Hebraische Melodien.
The latter, and other Hebrew renderings of
poems by Lessing, Goethe, Pushkin, Lermontov and Frug were
included in three volumes of his poems,
Shire sefat ever
(Songs of
the Hebrew tongue) which were published privately by himself
between 1882 and 1901.12 Once he also tried his hand at
cartography, editing maps for a Hebrew treatise on Russian ge­
ography by his friend Kalman Shulman.
7 Booch-Arkassy, Friedrich.
Methode Robertson fu r Russisch . . . bearbeitet unter
Mitwirkung von Dr. phil. S. Borisowitsch Mandelkern.
Leipzig: Breitkopf &
Hartel, 1884. 3 v.
8
Russisches Echo: Gesprache, Sprichwdrter und Redensarten aus dem russischen Leben:
eine praktische Anleitung zur Erlernung der Umgangssprache, nebst einem
vollstandigen Worterbuch.
Leipzig: W. Violet, 1888. 2, 158, 84 p.
9
Schmidt’s russisch-deutsches und deutsch-russisches Taschenworterbuch. Nach den
besten Quellen neu verfasst
von Dr. Solomon Mandelkern. Leipzig: O. Holte,
1896. 2 v. in 1.
10
Thamar: Roman aus den biblischen Alterthum.
Leipzig: Friedrich, 1885. 2 v.
11 K"nn
Hebrew melodies o fLord Byron
; translated by Dr. Solo­
mon Mandelkern. Leipzig: 1890. 45, 2 p. Mandelkern sent copies of this book
to Jewish philanthropists with a request to send him the price of about $2.00,
but only a small number of them responded.
12
K"tnn"l"mn
...“QJ7na\y ■’“PW.
Hebraische Gedichte.
Leipzig: Selbstverlag des
Verfassers, 1882-1901. 3 v. in 1.