Page 150 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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petty-minded antipathy to Vogel. As late as 1959 Grodzinsky
The Writers’ Union has been asked more than once in public
and in private why it rejects the publication of Vogel’s literary
remains. Meanwhile books appear, selected by the Writers’ Un­
ion, and through its initiative, but as to Vogel’s book there is
no one to speak or to listen.35
In 1972 the Writer’s Union remedied its deficiency by pub­
lishing a collection of Vogel’s poetry, with Dan Pagis’ masterful
As far as Vogel’s present place in Hebrew literature is con­
cerned it is probably best to view him as an intermediary be­
tween European Modernism and the developing Israeli litera­
ture which was generally more receptive to his gloomy but by
no means unique vision. He signified a break from the ideo­
logically circumscribed poetry the Israelis had inherited. During
the decade of the 50s Vogel enjoyed a revival which was re­
inforced by the leading poets of the day. The very qualities
that had estranged earlier critics, individuality and introspec­
tion, attracted the Israeli poets. Even after the establishment
of the State of Israel, Vogelism and its effects were rampant.
The poets of the late 40s and 50s continued to be berated by
their critics who rejected their aesthetic introspection which ap­
peared to them to signal an anti-communal self-absorption.
Gid’on Katznelson, for example, gave the Israeli poetry of the
40s and 50s the blanket label of “nihilism”36; others spoke of
its atmosphere of “silent, stifled weeping,” its “painful sigh,”
its sense of “acute nothingness.”
While we may not be able accurately to gauge Vogel’s direct
artistic predecessors we can at least trace his own influence. His
use of the devices of Symbolism, his nod towards the decorative
art of the Jugendstil, his Expressionism, directly inspired his
poetic successors such as Zach, and his conflation of the self
and external concerns provided the model according to which
the young Israeli poets realized their own growing postwar in­
trospection and withdrawal from collective interests.
26 December, 1959.
36. Gid’on Katznelson.
Le-an hem holkim?,
Alef, 1968.