Page 59 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

Basic HTML Version

AMONG THE RECENT YIDDISH BOOKS
By
M e l e c h R a v i t c h *
I
T IS an almost impossible task to obtain and present a com-
plete picture of Yiddish book production in all the countries
of the world. There is no complete bibliography; the books
mentioned in this article include only most of those to be found
on the American continent. But herein an effort will also be
made to evaluate briefly world trends in Yiddish literature
during the period of this study (Spring 1948 to Spring 1949).
There has always been much personal and vanity publishing
among Yiddish writers, which has become somewhat intensified
in our day by the trend toward martyrological writings. Though
it is difficult to catalogue these volumes, we are fortunate in
having at least five institutions devoted entirely to publication
of Yiddish books, whose output can be recorded. These comprise
CYCO and YKUF of New York, the Federation of Polish Jews
of Argentina, Yiddish Buch in Lodz, and Der Emes of Moscow.
(It is to be hoped that the last-named will resume its interrupted
activity during the coming year.)
A glance at the list for the year ending in the spring of 1949
reveals an extraordinary gain in the number and quality of Yid-
dish books. No less than 299 books and pamphlets of general
interest have been recorded. In this listing reprints have been
included, multi-volume publications have been counted as one,
and works not previously listed which appeared early in 1948
have been added.
The list comprises the following: belles lettres, 69; poetry,
66; memoirs, 37; essays, 34; ancient and modern history, 30;
collections, 15; juvenile and educational books, 13; humor, 8;
sociology, 5; anthologies, 5; drama, 4; art, 4; and philosophy, 4.
Of this number, 84 — almost a third — were devoted to
accounts of Israel’s recent martyrdom; 21 were reissues. In
a completer sense, however, one may say that most of the books
listed were in some measure concerned with the national tragedy.
The breakdown according to countries is as follows: United
States, 114; U. S. S. R., 52; Argentina, 35; Germany, 29; Poland,
18; France, 16; Canada, 9; Israel, 8; England, 6; Mexico, 4;
*Translated and abridged by Abraham Burstein.
S3