Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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KABAKOF F ----AMONG RECENT HEBREW BOOKS
35
above. I t is a tragedy in five acts, translated by Eisig Silbershlag
from the German manuscript of Karl de Haas and published by
the Goslava and Abraham Joseph Stybel Foundation for Hebrew
Literature. With this book, Mr. Stybel renews his patronage of
Hebrew literature for which he was widely known during and after
World War I. How this drama by a 19th century German roman-
tic author came to be published for the first time, and in Hebrew
translation, is a story in itself. The manuscript was given to
Mr. Stybel by a friend in Wisconsin where de Haas settled as a
young man. The sympathetic approach of the author to the period
of Roman conquest of Palestine and his novel interpretation of
the character and motives of Berenice in her love for Titus led
him to have the play translated for Hebrew readers. The charac-
ters in the play are depicted with understanding but they really
never come to life. The tragedy as a whole is representative of
the romantic school of writing, but its picture of the feelings of
Jerusalem’s inhabitants during this most crucial period of our his-
tory is well drawn.
II.
Before reviewing our selection of Palestine literature, we should
like to explain the reason for its steady progress both in number
and character of publications. The most important factor in the
development of Palestine literature is tha t the number of average
readers for each book has been more than doubled in recent years,
and now reaches between 4,000-5,000. A second factor is the
establishment of new publishing houses by the large Jewish organi-
zations which have adopted cultural work as an integral par t of
their activity and which are eager to gain a reading public for
their views. What is happening in Palestine is almost without
analogy. The Labor Federation has set up the
Am Oved
publish-
ing house with its various divisions for young and old and its stress
on original Hebrew works. Hashomer Hatzair is the sponsor of
Sifriat Hapoalim
, which is more ideological in its choice of books
and which issues more translations. Hakibbutz Hameuhad follows
similar lines but also emphasizes social studies and education.
Together with these new publishing houses there must also be
considered the other established agencies, such as the
Mossad
Bialik
, sponsored by the Jewish Agency, which is in a position to
undertake various long-term projects and
Mossad Harav Kook
(Rabbi Kook Foundation), sponsored by the Jewish Agency and
the Mizrachi, with its stress on religious works and research. In
addition, there are the private firms of long standing, such as
D v ir
,