Page 168 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Schechtman then began an autobiographic novel
Ringen O if Der
Neshome,
of which four volumes were completed by 1989.
Mordecai Tsanin’s prose epic in seven volumes,
Artapanos
Kumt Tsurik Ahaym
was begun in 1967 and completed in 1986.
It spans two thousand years of the wanderings of Artapanos,
the Eternal Jew, from his exile to Rome by Pompey, the first
Roman conqueror of Judea, until his homecoming to Israel as
a Holocaust survivor. Tsanin shows that a pattern of slow, up ­
ward development, sudden catastrophe and renewal character­
ize Jewish fate in all eras. Community after community perishes
but a remnant of refugees always survives to start a new group
existence in a new land where they are less intensely persecuted
and where they can recover from their harrowing experiences.
Tsanin’s narratives, including his most recent volume
Fun
Yener Zayt Tsayt
(1988), reveal him to be a master of mild irony,
an idealist with a large dose of scepticism, a sage who under­
stands too well the weakness of the Jewish heart that yearns
for moral perfection and far too often has to compromise with
moral imperfection.
Yeshayahu Spiegel, whose novels and short stories of the Lodz
Ghetto and of concentration camps, based on personal expe­
rience and keen observation, brought him to the front rank
of contemporary writers of Yiddish fiction, emerged more re­
cently as an essayist and literary critic of penetrating insight,
especially in his
Geshtaltn Un Profiln
(1980), and as a poet, whose
collected lyrics
Tsvishn Tof Un Alef
(1976) mirror the sadness
of human existence on this imperfect planet. In 1986 and 1988,
two volumes of tributes to him appeared, in which his impor­
tance and uniqueness were illuminated from a variety of aspects.
CENTRAL FIGURE
The most influential poet in Israel is Abraham Sutzkever.
He has been the editor of the quarterly
Di Goldene Keyt
since
its beginnings in 1949. He is the most frequently translated Yid­
dish poet and the subject of numerous major studies, of which
the most discerning were those by I.C. Biletsky in Hebrew, Jo ­
seph Leftwich in English, Shlomo Bickel, Yudel Mark and
Yitzchak Yanasovitch in Yiddish. Worldwide acclaim was ac­
corded him in 1988 on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday.
Three years earlier, South Africa’s poet and novelist David