The Wandering Jew. By Emily Temple Thurston (Putnam).
Hundreds of thousands will remember the late E. Temple Thurston’s stirring drama, The Wandering Jew. The dramatist’s wife has now turned it into a novel of exceptional force and readibility.
There is hardly any need for me to retell the story here. It follows the action of the play, in which the man who insulted Christ on the way to crucifixion is condemned to live century after century, through all kinds of suffering, to die ultimately in the flames of an auto-da-fe.
The author of the novel has definitely contributed to the fuller development of the theme. Her characterization is more subtle, and there is a mass of detail which gives the legend solidity.
The character of Matteos Battadios, the Jew, is treated humanly and in such a manner that he loses none of his mysterious power. Mrs. Temple Thurston’s powers of observation are very keen. She builds up situations with significant touches of color. Her descriptions move the senses.
Novels based on plays do not as a rule appeal to me; in fact, they repel me. But this novel gave the lie to my instinctive judgment.