Page 30 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
18
of his views. In
Freud: His life and mind
by Helen Walker Puner
(N. Y., Howell, Soskin, ’47) an attempt is made to answer such
questions as: Is it true that Freud’s consciousness of a Jewish
heritage combined with his hatred of being a Jew dictated the
nature of his work? Was he a bitter old man or a sensitive child
hurt by an anti-Semitic world? Did his own relationship to his
father result in his discovery of the Oedipus complex? The author
attributes a large part of Freud’s unhappiness and sense of perse-
cution to a split in his personality. As a Jew he was always con-
scious of his racial heritage. In this conclusion it seems that the
biographer went in for a bit of psychoanalyzing on her own. To
be sure, her reasoning is ingenious but not always quite convincing.
Doctor Freud
, an analysis and a warning by Emil Ludwig [trans-
lated from the German by E. Wallace Moore] (N. Y., Hillman,
Williams, ’47) is an all out hostile attack on the man and his
psychoanalytical theories.
That Franz Kafka may have utilized Freud’s dream findings
and that his work is infused with psychoanalytical knowledge is
now claimed in
Thefrozen sea
, by Charles Neider (N. Y., Oxford,
’48), a critical and much criticized study putting forth and apply-
ing a key to Kafka’s novels. Writing, said Kafka, is a form of
prayer. His own writings reveal subtleties of anxiety, supplication,
pain and pride. These are brilliantly analyzed in
Kafka's prayer
by Paul Goodman (N. Y., Vanguard, ’47). Much of his own inner
turmoil and keen observations made on the surrounding world
are offered in an abridged version of
The diaries of Franz Kafka
,
1910-1913
, edited by Max Brod [translated from the German by
Joseph Kresh] (N. Y., Schocken, ’48). They contain fragmentary
stories of himself, introspections, literary and artistic criticism
and reconstructed dreams of the most bizarre character. They
contain many references to Jewish writers and problems, customs,
rites and ceremonies. The workings of Kafka’s strange and un-
usual mind are also revealed in his
Parables
(N. Y., Schocken,
’48), likewise a gathering of fragments, some of which are pub-
lished for the first time in English. The German text has been
included with the translations.
HISTORICAL FICTION
Long ago Isaac M. Wise
{Reminiscences
, p. 332) realized the
need “ to familiarize the reading public with the brilliant periods
of Jewish history in fictional form.” I t is apparently the only
form of literature which appeals to a large reading public which
acquires whatever knowledge it possesses of historic events and
personalities from just such sources. Other modes of presentation