Page 108 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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J EW I S H BOOK A N N U A L
102
to his loathing and to his hopes in his brilliant poem
Apocalypse.
The theme of this poem eventually swells to a mighty crescendo
in the concluding volume of the
Ecoute Israel: Et tu Aimeras
VEterneel
(Hear O Israel and you will Love the Eternal). The
reader encounters in these poems the haunted spectre of the Wan-
dering Jew questing like the mythical Dante for spiritual peace.
The Jewish Wanderer, however, seeks peace in the works and
deeds of mankind. From generation to generation he is buffeted
by the same needless differences that divide mankind into con-
tending and war-torn families. War, hatred, spiritual decay, hold
the brooding figure of the wanderer in bondage, those causing his
restlessness staying, as it were, the liberation of mankind as sym-
bolized in the coming Messiah. This insistence upon an uncom-
promising moral code makes M. Fleg’s contributions seem so
solitary in European letters.
Although a more introspective and skeptical psychology may
shy away from this ancient code, it constitutes M. Fleg’s inspira-
tion and his strength. This is the theme of
Le J u i f du Pape
(The
Jew of the Pope), the muted hope of
Ma Palestine
(The Land of
Promise), the personal aspirations and history of
Pourquoi Je Suis
J u i f
(Why I am a Jew), and
LActualite des Psaumes
(The Reality
of the Psalms).
A spirit, so inspired, cannot approach the problems of history
with compass and gauge, nor like some amiable treasurer rear up
endless store-rooms of dead facts. History to such a man is Art,
an Art replete with sorrow, yet with hope (.
Le Chant Nouveau
— The New Song). I t is hard to conceive of any Art produced by
M. Fleg that has not drawn from history and been made bold by
his rich and sympathetic imagination.
In the limited space assigned to a consideration of the esthetic
production of Edmond Fleg, it is difficult, at best, to give more
than a cursory and, unfortunately, a generalized presentation.
Little could be said here of such fine works as
Salomon
(The Life
of Solomon),
Mo'ise
(The Life of Moses), the plays, the polemical
writings, the novel
LEn fan t Prophete
(The Boy Prophet).
I t is not remiss, perhaps, while honoring Edmond Fleg and his
great artistic contributions to Judaism to cast a glance at the
general availability of his books. In America the extant copies of
the translations of M. Fleg’s works are rare indeed; and to the
best of my knowledge E. P. Dutton Co., has not reissued any of
his books. In France, the same unhappy condition prevails; most
of his earlier books like
Mo'ise
,
Salomon
,
Jesus
, his plays and
essays, continue out of print, and are very difficult to obtain.
Gallimard, the French publishing house, once freed of the Vichy
and Nazi yokes, have resumed their interest in M. Fleg’s work