Page 52 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

Basic HTML Version

Jews — Jews who are really Jews and not mere misrepresentations
of myths — comprise the compilation
Among the nations
, edited
with an introduction by Ludwig Lewisohn (N. Y., Farrar, Straus;
Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, ’48). They
stand apart both from the dim view generally in Western lit-
erature and from the anti-Semitic vogue today. They present
recognizable portraits of Jewish characters, at once realistic and
intelligent. The stories are Somerset Maugham’s “The alien
corn,” Jacques de Lacretelle’s “Silbermann” and Thomas Mann’s
“Tamar” from his novel
Joseph the Provider
; the play is John
Galsworthy’s “Loyalties.” In his challenging introduction,
Mr. Lewisohn analyzes the misrepresentations of Jews which
appear in much of modern literature. “The cause is this: The
Jewish people has willed to remain itself and has striven to pre-
serve its form and guard its character. I t has resisted dissolution
by Hellenism, by Rome, by the Christian Middle Ages, by the
furious neo-Paganism of our immediate day. This is the central
fact of Western history mirrored in every Western literature, that
the steadfastness of the Jew, that his loyalty to his people, his
being and his God, that every quality in him which in other men
would have been thought noble and illustrious, has been imputed
to him as malice, as blindness and enmity to the human race . . .
Jewish characters in poetry, in drama, in fiction are neither human
nor Jewish; they are the symbols of an evil and baseless myth.”
of Y. L. Peretz’s writings rendered into English by
Solomon Liptzin (N. Y., ’47) was issued by the Yiddish Scientific
Institute as the first volume in Yivo’s Bilingual series. In his
introductory essay the translator deals with the literary and social
significance of Peretz’s writings.
Among this year’s output of mystery, adventure and detective
stories there are some which have a measure of Jewish interest.
A few samples will suffice to illustrate this claim.
The terrified
by Hildegarde Teilhet (N. Y., Doubleday, ’47) has been
described as “a novel of pursuit.” I t is an exciting adventure
story of Thomas Jarrot who was head of America, Unite, an addle-
pated gang peddling “a new Anglo-Saxon society” and who fled
from Atlanta after an incident involving a Jewish violinist. He
found his way to Guatemala and parts adjacent, and ended in
the midst of murder, intrigue and love, in a manner that may or
may not arouse compassion. In
Many a monster
by Robert Fin-
negan (N. Y., Simon & Schuster, ’48), a detective story, there is