Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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MERVIN BUTOVSKY
A. M. Klein: A Jewish Poet
in the Modern World
S
i n c e
h i s
d e a t h
in 1972, the literary repu ta tion of the
Canadian-Jewish poet Abraham Moses Klein has shown a steady
growth, so that today he has come to occupy a significant place
in the cultural pantheon of his country which he had eagerly
sought but which had eluded him during his lifetime. Soon
after his death
The Collected Poems
(1974) edited by Miriam
Waddington, was published, rescuing many poems from the
out-of-print publications where they had originally appeared,
and bringing his work to the attention of a new generation
of readers. His single published novel,
The Second Scroll
(1951)
is considered a Canadian classic and remains in print, a required
text in college and university courses.
In recent years he has been the subject of a biographical
study, numerous scholarly dissertations, an academic confer­
ence, a considerable number of journal and periodical essays,
and a film portrait produced by the National Film Board. And
the most significant posthumous recognition has come in the
form of his
Collected Works
, being issued since 1982 by the Uni­
versity of Toronto Press. Three volumes have appeared to date
gathering his short stories, selected essays and editorials, and
literary essays and reviews. These have been edited by Usher
Caplan and M. W. Steinberg in conjunction with a distinguished
editorial board, and their devotion is evidenced in the impec­
cable, authoritative presentation of each succeeding volume.
This homage to Klein is especially remarkable, since no other
modern Canadian writer has yet been similarly acknowledged.
The early recognition of Klein’s writing derived mainly from
the efforts of his friends and fellow-writers in the various lit­
erary circles with which he was associated in Montreal of the
1930s and 40s. During those decades the English literary scene
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