Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEW ISH BOOK A N N U A L
hart, ’48) is an informal biography of Gertrude Stein by a close
personal friend. To the information it offers should be added
some additional data furnished in
Appreciation: painting
,
poetry
and prose
by Leo Stein (N. Y., Crown, ’47), the elder brother of
Gertrude Stein. He says he taught his sister to like Picasso. Their
father, it appears, was a pedagogical genius who discharged the
cook when he wanted his daughters to learn cooking. Gertrude,
Leo says, never learned to cook, which may explain her long devo-
tion to Alice B. Toklas, but Leo went into the kitchen in the wake
of his sisters. Those who read the book which Gertrude Stein
called
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
may be interested in
Leo’s version of the antics at 27 Rue de Fleurus which Gertrude
there reported. “A romance was published some years ago about
this place and the people who live in it,” says Leo, “but it was
so very romantic and so little related to facts.” Apparently
Mr. Stein is not one of those who hold that geniuses are a different
race from ordinary men . . . Some additional information on
Gertrude Stein can also be gleaned from
Nine twenty
0 ’
Farrell
Street
by Harriet Lane Levy, illustrated by Mallette Dean (N. Y.,
Doubleday, ’47), interesting memoirs of her girlhood in the late
nineteenth century San Francisco and the story of her orthodox
American-Jewish family portrayed with both warmth and wit,
but not without a bit of widely spread misinformation about Jew-
ish life and religious practices.
The true story of how one man in defiance of a series of tragedies,
any one of which might have broken his spirit, won out, is told
in
Even the night
by Raymond Leslie Goldman (N. Y., Macmillan,
’47). I t is the autobiography of a writer who has overcome the
physical handicap of infantile paralysis, deafness and diabetes
and faced the prejudice against Jews at the age of twenty-six, and
lived through the tragic death of his wife who left him with a son.
He met all his difficulties, one by one, struggled against them and
triumphed. He won against all odds through faith in God, in men
and in himself. He became a successful writer happily married.
A pattern of Jewish family life, of true beauty and nobility is
presented in
Father and the angels
by William Manners [pseudonym
of Samuel Rosenberg] (N. Y., Dutton, ’47). I t is a devoted son’s
story of his life with father, a warmly human and loveable gentle-
man who, in the early years of our century, served the Jewish
community of Zanesville, Ohio, in the manifold capacity of
hazan
,
shohet
,
mohel
and preacher. The son, who almost became a rabbi
himself, admired his father, who, it seems was an other-worldly
saintly man full of the milk of human kindness. In revealing the
character of his affectionate and understanding father, he de-
scribes, not without a bit of humor, his valiant struggles to raise his