Page 56 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 5 (1946-1947)

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Some significant works published in former years have been
reprinted. Thus there appeared a second printing of Menachem
Boraisha’s basic work
Der Gaier
(The Pilgrim). This is a poem
which depicts Jewish life in transformation during the nineteenth
century stressing the influence of the
movement. Bialik’s
Poems, both those written originally in Yiddish as well as trans-
lations by J. J. Schwartz, were published in Mexico.
Naturally not all books of poetry published last year are men-
tioned here. Only the general line of poetic creativeness in Yiddish
is delineated and a few exceptional works are mentioned to con-
firm and illustrate the avowed intention of showing the anger and
the woe, the aloneness and the forlorn lament of the Jewish spirit
as expressed in the language of the heart — the poem. Yiddish
poetry was on guard and did not betray its mission. Were one to
publish an anthology of Yiddish poetry of the past few years, it
would at once become obvious tha t the poems of today are neither
less powerful nor less poetic than the Lamentations of old. Their
sorrow is perhaps even deeper because “ there is no par tner in
destruction,” no companion either on earth or in heaven. I t there-
fore becomes necessary “ to bear destruction in one’s own hands”
to use the expression of Ephraim Auerbach.
Narration went only partly along with the times. The novel
did not have time to catch up with the wild turmoil of blood and
extinction. Perhaps narrative art is incapable of this role. Perhaps
one can only hint at horrors, but not describe them. Our time
may never find reflection in the novel, and if it does it may prove
pale and disappointing because a novel must tell all, whereas a
poem is equally powerful in what it says and what it leaves unsaid.
A novel must picture the entire landscape, peak as well as depres-
sion, while a poem can lightly skip from peak to peak. In any
case praise is due to the Yiddish poems of recent years because
they immortalized our sorrow and did not leave our bereavement
unsung and unlamented.
Last year there appeared a reprint of Sholem Asch’s
Y id
(Salvation) the most finished and probably the greatest work
of this master narrator. This work of Asch certainly did not evoke
protests from anyone. J. J. Singer’s
Di Familye Karnovski
Family Karnovski), the interesting reflection of the modern history
of German Jews, was also reissued. The most important new work
this year was the second par t of Zalman Schneour’s great novel
Kaiser un Rebbi
(King and Rabbi). This par t is entitled
Der Vilner
(The Gaon of Wilno). Zalman Schneour is one of the most
significant narrators of great scope in Yiddish literature. There