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“Fun Umetum” is published by I. W. Biderman, New York. “Muntergang” is published by Farlag Signal of the Proletpen, New York

Yiddish literature in this country, it would seem to the observer of literary activities in the language, has been on the upgrade during the past few months. The spirit of liveliness is evident not only from the discussions in the cafes of the literati, but, primarily, from the number of books and militant magazines which have recently made their appearance, mainly in New York but also in various parts of the country.

The reviewer wishes to report here on two of the recent books. “Fun Umetum” (From Everywhere) by Eliezer Greenberg is a book of lyrical poems embracing themes of love, nature, city life and the disturbing forces of the times, such as unemployment and the shadow of war.

In his descriptions of urban life, as well as in those of nature, the poet is freer than he is in the purely personal motifs, which are more in the nature of reticent entries in a diary. He is, besides, more at home in the country than he is in the city. Perhaps this is because the city is a comparatively new sphere which artists are still seeking to penetrate and master.

The present volume is Greenberg’s second since 1928, when he published his book of poems called “Gassn Un Avenues” (Streets and Avenues).

Of an entirely different nature is “Muntergang” (Brave Ascent) by Yosl Cuttler, young humorist and co-founder of the Yiddish marionette players Modicut.

The book is chock-full of samples of Cuttler’s multiple impish talents. The reader is treated to an abundance of everything: light verse, short stories, one act plays and reproductions of Cuttler’s serious and humorous paintings and drawings—all “for children of 8 to 88.”

Cuttler manipulates in a style all his own, his characters and descriptions suggesting the manner of the marionette stage. Of outstanding merit is the chapter “A Day in My Home Town” in the description of Cuttler’s tour of Soviet Russia.

The volume, which is profusely illustrated by the author, is his first appearance in book form. He made his debut in 1921 with his “The False History of the World” in Abraham Reisin’s “Nei-Yiddish.”

To the list of the standard magazines such as the Zukunft, literary monthly representing the Socialist viewpoint; Hammer, representing the Communist ideology; Oifkum, independent literary journal, and Kinder Journal, only Yiddish magazine for children, which, incidentally, recently entered upon its fifteenth year of publication, half a dozen or so new ones have been added. Among them are Brikn (Bridges), a quarterly published in Chicago; Bodn (Foundation), quarterly published in New York; Massn (Masses), bi-monthly, New York; Inzich (Introspection), monthly, New York; Studio, quarterly, New York, and Dos Wort Library.

A definite trend toward the proletarian viewpoint is evident in all but Bodn and Dos Wort, the first not deviating from the traditional theme although attempting to present its views in heavy intellectualized manner. Dos Wort Library is a one-man periodical, publishing the works of S. Z. Setzer. Inzich, which represents the school of Yiddish introspective poets, is not altogether a new publication, having been started some fifteen years ago and now revived after a suspension of several years. Most of the magazines published now have as their contributors the younger set of Yiddish writers.

Topics for lively discussion in the magazines themselves and echoed in the general daily press were provided by Brikn, Inzich and Oifkum. Brikn gave a new turn to the old dispute between artist and critic. Inzich created something of a surprise with its emergence from individualism by issuing a call for the formation of a new revolutionary party. The Oifkum’s contribution to the latest sensations was the publication of a letter to the editor by Chaim Lieberman, essayist, critic and journalist. Lieberman announced that he would never again take pen in hand to write what is known as fine literature, nor would he read anything answering that description, the reason for his decision being a mere nothing—Hitler! The latest developments in Germany, as well as in a number of other countries, where writers of fine literature have aligned themselves with reactionary forces and accepted the dictates of political despots have shattered Lieberman’s high ideals of literature and he therefore gives it the get (gate)

“Fun Umetum” is published by I. W. Biderman, New York. “Muntergang” is published by Farlag Signal of the Proletpen, New York

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