Page 66 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
54
Hannah Kleinman’s slim collection of first poems, entitled
Netafim
(Droplets — Chicago, College of Jewish Studies, 1947)
has a moving, lyrical quality. The poetess, an alumna of the
College, was born and educated here.
Announcement was made of the publication in Palestine of two
other contributions to our literature by American Hebrew writers:
Simon Halkin’s translation of “The Life and Death of King John”
by Shakespeare (Jerusalem, Tarshish, 1947) and the collected
“Songs and Poems” of Aaron Zeitlin, a publication of Mossad
Bialik.
LETTERS OF HEBREW WRITERS
Igrot Sofrim Ivrim
(Letters Of Hebrew Writers — Brooklyn,
Israel Matz, 1947) is the title of a valuable collection of material
which sheds light on many personalities in Hebrew literature. We
have here the correspondence of various prominent Haskalah
figures with Abraham Zuckerman, a Warsaw bookdealer, as well
as letters to Israel Matz and the editor of the volume, Max Raisin.
Matz’s correspondence reveals the extent of his concern with the
fate of Hebrew letters and its leading spirits. Eliezer Ben Yehuda,
Reuben Brainin and Mordecai D. Brandstaetter are among those
who express their gratitude to Matz and write him of their plans.
Raisin’s correspondence includes letters from American Hebrew
writers over a period of close to half a century. From these
personal documents we gain an insight into the struggles and
strivings of Hebrew writers both here and abroad.
A vital approach to the problems of our literature is to be
found in Isaiah Rabinowitz’s volume of literary criticism entitled
Ha-Sifrut B ’Mashber Ha-Dor
(Literature in the Crisis of Our
Generation — New York, Ohel, 1947). In this book, which deals
with world literature as well as Hebrew letters, the author analyzes
the deep conflict between the Jewish ethical approach to life as
exemplified by the Bible and the ancient mythological origins
which have their beginnings in Greek literature. He finds this
conflict to be a root problem of Western literature, particularly
in the drama. In the light of his humanistic approach, Rabinowitz
pleads for a return to wholesome Hebraic forms and the sources
of Jewish inspiration. He writes about such representatives of
Western literature as Thomas Mann, O’Neill and Pirandello, and
such Hebrew writers as Bialik, Tchernichowsky and Schneour.
In his concluding series of shorter pieces entitled “In Praise of
Literature,” the author treats such subjects as the function of
criticism and the dramatic form.