Page 11 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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KABAKOFF /INTRODUCTION
3
We had occasion in our introduction to vol. 44 of the
Annual
to
point to a number of developments that have indicated a desire
and determination to keep alive the knowledge of the Yiddish
heritage in the American Jewish community. We want to point
here to a few recent examples of publication efforts that seek to
make available some of the best of Yiddish literature.
American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology,
edited by Benja­
min and Barbara Harshav (Univ. of California Press, 1986), is a
new and ambitious presentation of a vital branch of American lit­
erature. Offering selections from the work of seven of the best
Yiddish poets in America, the volume serves as an excellent intro­
duction to Yiddish modernism. It has facing Yiddish and English
texts and is richly illustrated with photographs, woodcuts,
sketches and paintings by contemporaries of the poets.
In contrast to the largely literal translations in this anthology
are the more poetic renderings in
The Penguin Book ofModern Yid­
dish Verse,
edited by Irving Howe, Ruth Wisse and Rhone
Shmeruk (Viking, 1987). This bilingual compilation aims to offer
a comprehensive view of modern Yiddish poetry and to make
accessible samplings of the work of thirty-nine poets. Of these,
the editors have singled out six major poets for more extensive
treatment. Unfortunately, permission was apparently not
received to include the poetry of Chaim Grade, another major
figure. Together with
The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse
(1981),
this welcome anthology opens up new vistas for all those who are
interested in the various components of our trilingual literature.
We can also report on a new project that seeks to make available
competent translations of Yiddish prose writings. Schocken
Books has launched a new series entitled “The Library of Yiddish
Classics,” under the editorship of Ruth Wisse. The first volume is
Sholem Aleichem’s
Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories,
translated by Hillel Halkin, who has also contributed an introduc­
tion. Future volumes will be devoted to the works of Mendele
Mokher Sforim, I.L. Peretz and S. Anski.
I l l
As part of its treatment of various aspects of our trilingual liter­
ature, the
Annual
has focused special attention on two major writ­
ers, on the occasion of the centennials of their birth which occur
in 1988. They are: S.Y. Agnon, to whom two English articles and