Books

The process is inevitable. When a novelist has becom### great, some publisher in some part of the world is sure t### call to our attention some early specimen of the Titan### labors and we discover the process by which the great on### struggled up from uncertainty to certainty. “The Dark Pi### grimage”, which is the title under which the Liveright people have brought out Jacob Wasserman’s first novel “Die Jude### Von Zirndorf’,, is interesting not so much in itself—althoug### it has its moments—as for the marvelous chain of stories ### which it was the first. It is difficult to realize while reading it, although not improbable, that the man who wrote “Th### Jews of Zirndorf” wrote also “The World’s Illusion” and “Casper Hauser.”

The story is full of scattered fire and smoky mysticism, not to mention a very large cut of weltschmerz and a pretty thick slice of misery, both Jewish and general. The book reveals a capacity for story telling which outruns the knowledge of life of the story-teller. There is a definite relation between the sources of the story and the elements of the story teller’s own youth, as revealed in the recently published “My Life as German and as Jew.” A reading of “The Dark Pilgrimage”, in re###tion to the books that followed ### makes us realize that as Wass### mann grew in years, he grew in ### pacity to use his marvelous stor### telling gifts in relation to the worl### about him.

Perhaps the best realized part o### the book is the Prelude, wherein w### learn of the mystical impact mad### upon a medieval German Jewis### community by the knowledge th### Sabbatai Zevi, the not-yet-prove### False Messiah, was waiting for t### Jews of the world at Salonica. Th### chapter describes the setting out ### the Jews of this German town t### meet the Messiah and their halt a### the town which became Zirndor### when they learned that their Mes### siah had forsaken them and turne### Mohammedan. The book proper i### taken up with a tortured account o### the misery of a group of Zirndor### people, Jews mainly. Its chief de### fect is that the separate threads o### the story are not drawn tightly together.

H. S.

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