Page 50 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
38
poem and around it the struggle rages. The character of Rabbi
Meir’s wife, Beruriah, as well as the personalities of the central
figures, are depicted with faithfulness to our sources and with
poetic depth.
PUBLICATIONS OF AM OVED
Among the publications o
{Am Oved
are two books which con-
tain appreciations of personalities and literary figures and are a
welcome addition to this type of writing. The first is a volume
by Berl Katzenelson, entitled
B'havle Adam
(The Throes of Men),
which was published shortly after his death. As editor of the labor
daily
Davar
, and as a leader in the Yishuv, Katzenelson knew in-
timately the builders and workers of Palestine. His book is a guide
not only to the personalities of his contemporaries who contributed
to the development of the homeland, but also to the earlier builders.
Eliezer Steinman’s
B'maagal Hadorot
(In the Circle of Genera-
tions), our second book, breathes an intense love for Hebrew liter- *
ature and its figures. Steinman, who is one of our finest Hebrew
essayists and stylists, seems to have executed a literary about-face
in this volume. Whereas in the past he was known for his polemics
against our literary great, here he is their sympathetic interpreter.
He treats mainly such classic writers as Mapu and Mendele but
he also included more recent figures. The explanation for Stein-
man’s new approach is to be found in the words of his own intro-
ductory essay in which he avers: “Out of our small literature there
has spoken the spirit of our people . . . Yes, the Jewish soul is
bound up in Hebrew literature. I love this soul. Therefore, I love
those who have given it expression.”
We should like briefly to recommend two recent anthologies
which help to introduce the reader to the world of Hebrew litera-
ture and thought. The first,
Sifrutenu Hahadasha
(Our Modern
Literature), of which two volumes have already been published
by
Ahiasaf,
presents selections from our outstanding poets and
novelists beginning with Bialik. The compilers, Mordecai Robin-
son and Hayyim Toren, have prefaced the selections with short
biographies and evaluations of the various writers.
Mivhar Hamas-
sah Haivrit
(A Selection of Hebrew Essays), compiled by I. Becker
and S. Shpan and published by
Gazit,
is the name of the second
anthology. I t makes an effort to present, through ninety selections,
the Jewish essay from the Haskalah down to our own times. The
strict adherence to chronological presentation of the authors and
the inclusion of publicist and scientific writing detract somewhat
from the general excellence of the volume. Yet, together with the