Сара Шапира в статье об ивритоязычной литературе (на английском языке). Фрагмент


By: Richard Gottheil, N.Slouschz

Period of Transition in Italy.
First German Maskilim.
Influence of the Me’assefim.
Poland and Austria.
Nachman Krochmal (1785-1840).
The Galician School.
Decadence of the School.
Italy: Luzzatto.
A. Bär Lebensohn.
Popular and Literary Romanticism.
Official Liberalism and Radicalism.
Leon Gordon (1830-92).
M. Pines.
P. Smolenskin (1842-85).
Contemporary Literature (1885-1904).
Daily Press.

Modern Hebrew literature (1743-1904), in distinction to that form of Neo-Hebraic literature known as rabbinical literature (see Literature, Hebrew), which is distinctly religious in character, presents itself under a twofold aspect: (1) humanistic, relating to the emancipation of the language by a return to the classical models of the Bible, leading to the subsequent development of modern Hebrew; (2) humanitarian, dealing with the secularization of the language with a view to the religious and social emancipation of the Jews of the ghetto. These two tendencies are expressed by the word Haskalah, a term denoting the movement which predominated in Hebrew literature from the second half of the eighteenth century down to the death of Smolenskin in 1885.

Daily Press.

In 1886 L. Kantor began the publication of “Ha-Yom,” the first Hebrew daily paper; and soon after “Ha-Meliẓ” and “Ha-Ẓefirah” were changed into dailies. A political press, also, was established, and contributed largely to the propagation of Zionism and to the modernization of Hebrew style. The founding of two large publishing-houses (the “Aḥiasaf” and “Tushiyyah”), through the efforts of Ben-Avigdor, finally regulated the conditions for the progress of Hebrew, and created a class of paid writers. Journals, more than other forms of literature, are multiplying, and there are a number even in America.

Literary activity was resumed after a short interval, now on an entirely national basis and in agreement with the many needs of a nationalist group. All the branches of letters, science, and art were assiduously cultivated, without neglecting the renascence of the Jewish people in the land of their fathers. In the field of poetry, besides Mandelkern and Gottlober, both converted to Zionism, are to be found Dolitzky, author of Zionistic songs describing the miseries of the Russian Jews; the two Zionist poets Isaac Rabinowitz and Sarah Shapira, and the gifted lyric poet M. H. Mané, who died at an early age. Perhaps the most noteworthy was C. A. Shapira, an eminent lyric poet, who, embittered by indignation, introduced a new note into Hebrew poetry—hatred of persecution. There is, finally, N. H. Imber, the poet of renascent Palestine and the author of popular songs. Bialik is a lyric poet of much vigor, an incomparable stylist, and a romanticist of note, while his younger contemporary Saul Tschernichowsky is proceeding along new lines, introducing pure estheticism, the cult of beauty and of love, in the language of the Prophets. The most gifted among the younger poets are S. L. Gordon, N. Pinés, A. Lubochitzky, Kaplan, Lipschütz, and A. Cohan.

In the field of belles-lettres Ben-Avigdor is the creator of the new realistic movement; this he expoundsin his psychologic stories and especially in his “Menaḥem ha-Sofer,” in which he attacks, in the name of modern life, national chauvinism. Braudes became prominent as a romanticist. The aged A. J. Abramowitsch, who has returned to Hebrew, delights his readers by his artistic satires. I. L. Perez has in his songs, as in his poetry, a tendency toward symbolism. M. J. Berdyczewski attempts to introduce Nietzschian individualism into his stories and articles. Feierberg expresses the sufferings of a young scholar seeking truth. Goldin is a pleasing but sentimental writer of stories. Bershadsky is an outspoken realist and close observer. Others deserving mention are: J. Rabinovitz; Turov; A. S. Rabinovitz; Epstein; Asch; J. Steinberg; Goldberg; Brener; the Galicians Silberbusch and Samueli; the poet and prose-writer David Frischman, the translator of “Cain”; J. Ch. Tawjew, who is a distinguished feuilletonist and writer on pedagogics; A. L. Levinsky, the story-teller, author of a Zionist Utopia (“Travels in Palestine in 5800”); and J. L. Landau, the only dramatic poet. As Landau is a poet rather than a psychologist, his “Herod” and other plays are not intended for the theater. The Orientalist Joseph Halévy has published a volume of patriotic poems.

The reaction of 1890 in the work of colonizing Palestine and the evident necessity of taking some steps to meet such a reaction produced the work of “Aḥad ha-‘Am” (Asher Ginzberg). He is notably a critic of manners; and in the name of pure ideology he attacked first actual colonization and then political Zionism. Judaism before everything, and not the Jews; a moral and spiritual, not an economic and a political center; a national ideal taking the place of faith—such, in the rough, is the idea of this acute and paradoxical publicist. A number of young men, influenced by his collection “Ha-Pardes” and the review “Ha-Shiloaḥ,” founded by him and continued by Klausner, have followed in his lead. Quite opposite in tendencies is Zeeb Ya’beẓ, the editor of “Ha-Mizraḥ,” a remarkable stylist and religious romanticist. L. Rabinovitz, the director of “Ha-Meliẓ,” in his articles “Ha-Yerushshah weha-Ḥinnuk” also shows himself to be a defender of Jewish tradition, while Ben-Judah, the author of “Hashḳafah” (Jerusalem), constantly opposes obscurantism. N. Sokolow, by the power of his genius, forces Hebrew and modern ideas even upon the Ḥasidim. The critic Reuben Brainin is a close observer, an admirable stylist, and a charming story-teller. The historian S. Bernfeld is a scholarly popularizer of Jewish science.

Pedagogics and juvenile literature also have their periodicals and worthy representatives. Among these are: Lerner, S. L. Gordon, Madame Ben-Judah, Yellin, Grosovsky, and Berman. Many scholars have devoted themselves to science, as the late philosopher F. Misés; the grammarian J. Steinberg, who is an admirable writer; the anatomist, archeologist, and author of popular stories Katzenelenson; Neimark; and Hurvitz. There are, in addition, many translators and compilers who have rendered into Hebrew Longfellow, Mark Twain, Zola, and even De Maupassant; and this work is being actively carried forward. There is a steady increase in the number of daily and weekly journals, all of which, though Zionistic, are none the less progressive. With the emigration of the Russian Jews to foreign countries, Hebrew is finding new centers. In 1904 a course in modern Hebrew literature was instituted at the Sorbonne. Palestine is in a fair way to become the home of Hebrew as a living language, and in America and in England there are numerous publications in Hebrew. Even in the Far East, Hebrew books and periodicals are to be found in increasing numbers, stimulating national and social regeneration. But it must be remembered that the future of Hebrew is intimately connected with Zionism, which is accepted by the masses only by reason of the ideal of national renascence. Faithful to its Biblical mission, the Hebrew language alone is able to revive moral vigor and prophetic idealism, which have never failed where the sacred language has been preserved.

Bibliography: N. Schlousz, La Renaissance de la Littérature Hébraïque, 1743-1885, Paris, 1903;
R. Brainin, Mapu, Smolensky (in Hebrew), Warsaw;
S. Bernfeld, Dor Ḥakam, Warsaw, 1896;
idem, Da’at Elohim, ib. 1897-98;
J. Klausner, Hebrew Literature in the Nineteenth Century (in Russian);
M. Mendelssohn, Pene Tebel, Amsterdam, 1872.G. N. Sl.

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