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September 24, 1976 - Image 94

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-09-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

86 Friday, September 24, 1976

\lit; P!`"1!',1!':4'*

Madison Volume Reveals Jewish Impact on Publishing

Israel Zangwill and many
Charles A. Madison de-
other major writers.
voted 40 years of his ac-
Most significant in
tive literary career to
Madison's history is the
book editing for a leading
thorough account of the
American publishing
role of Jews as authors of
house, Holt, Rhinehart
major works of fiction, so
and Winston, having
many of which were
started with the earliest
member of that firm,
Henry Holt and Co., in
1921. During that time he
has authored several im-
portant works, has writ-
ten extensively on Jewish
subjects dealing with
Jewish writers and pub-
lishers. As an expert on
Yiddish he also developed
many theses relating to
the Yiddish language, al-
though he had written
and published only in En-
His vast experience
unquestionaly rates him
as one of the leading au-
thorities on book publish-
- ing and he certainly
--' merits recognition as viewed as morbidly abu-
perhaps • the best. in- sive in the treatment of
formed man today on Jewish family life, and
Jewish publishing.
the rise of a group of lead-
In "Jewish Publishing ers in the narrative field
in America — The Impact who overshadowed the
of Jewish Writing on negativists. -
. American Culture," pub-
He stated in part:
lished by Sanhedrin
' 1
In recent years not a few

Press of Hebrew Publish- Jewish
have been
ing Co., he has compiled severely writers
by fel-
v. • the record that certifies
Jews for their distor-
this authoritative status. low
of Jewish life out of
! Madison's "Jewish Pub- tion
and .superfi-
lishing in America," ciality, for the
anthological in scope, tion of negative exaggera-
traits, and
combines- history with for over-emphasizing
biography, relates to
1 Jewish writers and their
literary skills, journalism
Critics have pointed out
and publishing.
Understandably, - Madi- that in their effort to attain
son defines the role of the popularity, the writers
• Yiddish press, and inter have tended to exploit
alia Yiddish literature in their vague childhood re-
general terms, and even in collections of their Jewish
its condensed form his out- environment without con-
line of that rich develop- cern for i.nner truth or
ment provides the neces- outer reality. •
As Leslie Fiedler de-
sary understanding of the
clared in 1963: "We live in
merits of Jewish publish-
ing whiCh has resulted in a moment where
an embracing of influence everywhere in the realm of
prose Jewish writers have
upon the non-Jewish pub-
discovered their Jewish-
lishing field, with a strong
ness to be eminently a
participation by Jews in all
marketable commodity,
of the major publishing
projects that now form the their much vaunted aliena-
tion to be their passport
record of American book-
into the heart of Gentile
. dom.
American culture."
The history of the Yid-
These writers, born
dish press is traced to the
Jews but growing up with
pioneering work of Kas-
no real knowledge of
riel Z. Sarasohn of the
Tageblatt, Abe Cahan of Jewishness, have sought
the Forward and the for-.. to gain their effects by
caricature rather than by
illation of the Tog under
insightful characteriza-
the editorship of Herman
tion. Books like Ben
Bernstein with the emi-
Hecht's "A Jew in Love,"
nent Judah Magnes, who
Norman Katkov's "Eagle
later became president of
in My Eyes," and Philip
the Hebrew University in
Roth's "Portnoy's Com-
Jerusalem as one of the
plaint," to list but three
paper's organizers.
Bison alludes to the
served to distort the true
fa that in its earliest
nature of Jewishness.
stages. the Yiddish press
Such writing, Ludwig
was.treated with disdain
stated causti-
by .,t.U,assimilated who
cally, carried the Jewish
treated it as ..a0ja-tgon"
motif "to morbid lengths
and was held in contempt,
on - self-degradation, rag-
nevertheless emerging as
ing against their residual
a powerful organ for
Jewishness with flam-
Jewish communalgrowth
boyant illiteracy, exalting
in America.
not the noble and elevated
Jewish publishing proj-\ aspects of American cul-
ects receive due attention
ture, but its very dregs and
in Madison's account of
sewage at the expense of
Jewish cultural develop-
all that was glorious and
ments. With the Jewish
sacred in their ancestral
Publication Society ac,
corded special considera-
It should be stressed
tion as the introducer to
that a good many Jewish
the American reader of the
writers deal only inciden-
works of Heinrich Graetz
tally with Jewish themes
the historian, the novelist
or characters, writing



stories and poems and
plays and criticism mainly
in the current American
Among such writers are
Norman Mailer, Arthur
Miller, Muriel Rukyeser,
Lionel Trilling, Philip
Rahv, and Paul Goodman,
to mention the first that
come to mind. Others,
more sensitive of their
Jewish heritage and delib-
erately espousing it in
their writing, have de-
picted Jewish life, favora-
bly or critically, with a sin-
cerity and insight that
made for authentic art.
One of them, Herbert
Gold, remarked: "The
American Jewish com-
munity is most important
to me as a writerbecause it
is a mirror in which the
rest of America can be
seen. Like all mirrors, it
invites distortion." Ber-
nard Malamud is equally
candid: "I write about
Jews because I know them.
But more important I
write about them because
the Jews are absolutely
the very stuff of drama."
A good, example of this
kind of writing is Henry
Roth's "Call It Sleep,"
which was a failure when
published in 1934 but a
success when reissued in
1960. According to Leslie
Fiedler "it is the best
single work by a Jew about
Jewishness written by an
American, certainly
through the thirties and
perhaps ever."
Others who depicted
Jews and Jewishness with
serious, if not always
favorable overtones are
too numerous to list, but
the following are typical:
Michael Blankfort, Leon
Uris, Meyer Levin, Arthur
A. Cohen, Louis Unter-
meyer, Herman , Wouk,
Saul Bellow, and Louis
Zara. It might be said, in-
deed, that with events such
as the Holocaust and the
establiShment of' Israel,
few Jews can escape their
Jewishness, and those
Writers who seek to sup-
press or deprecate it do so
at their artistic peril.

The most vital theme in
Madison's book, however,
is the proof he proVides of
the impact of Jews in all
spheres of book producing
in America. At the outset
it was limited, and there
was even the effect of
anti-Semitism, as in the
Henry Holt and Co. before
it expanded into Holt,
Rinehart and Winston. In
the course of time Jews
assumed leading roles as
book e'ditors 'and as pub-
lishers they played lead
parts, as they do now, in
major American firms.
Abelard Scugman, Ju-
lian Messner, Long and
Smith, Veritas and
numerous others repre-
sent an erasable publish-
ing. link with the past.
Then there are the firms
which now enjoy that im-
pact from Jewish associa-
tions, like Alfred Knopf,
Simon and Schuster,
and others like Covici-
Fried, Frederick Praeger,
Thomas Yoseloff, Grove,
and Harry Abrams who
has become famous as an
art books publisher — all

of whom have Jewish as-
The importance of these
publishers' contributions
is their emphasis on all as-
pects of fiction, history,
poetry, science and art.
They introduced and ex-
panded the paperbacks as
Madison states in his em-
phasis on such an impact
by Jews in the publishing
"Perhaps as great a
contribution of the
Jewish publisheKs was
their success in stimulat-
ing the wide reading of
books by Americans.
They did this by produc-
ing inexpensive books
and making them avail-
able in towns and villages
and on farms which had
no previous means of ob-
taining them. The Little
Leather Library, the Lit-
tle Blue Books, the
Modern Library, the re-
mainder books -,- all sold
at very low prices and
brought. into local drug
stores, department
stores, stationery stores
— served to develop the
habit of reading and pre:
pared the more serious

readers for the modern
literature subsequently

"Very helpful in this
connection were the sev-
eral book clubs, which
brought new books to the
doors of their members.
Another important factor
in the spread of reading
was the advent of the
paperbacks, in which
Jews have had a crucial
part. Thus the increase in
the number of readers,
and their cultural en-
hancement, was initiated
and furthered in large
measure by the Jews ac-
tive in American book

Madison added:
The Jewish publishers
were predominant in en-
couraging American au-
thors who had broken
away from the restraints
of Victorian conventions
and were expressing
themselves freely and.
creatively. They also led
the fight against censor-.
ship, and emerged victori-
ous only after much effort
and often crippling ex-

One of their great
achievements was to
bring modern literature
from other countries to
American readers. While
the long-established con-
ventional publishers lim-
ited their lists to the
works of traditional
American and British au-
thors, and ventured to
issue translations of only
popular foreign authors,
the Jewish publishers did
not hesitate to bring out
the writings of men an.
women considered radi-
cal or immoral or esoteric
by their conservative

It. is not an exaggera-
tion to state that Madi-
son's "Jewish Publishing
in America" is a great
contribution to American
literature because he
covers the field
thoroughly as history,
with its social and cul-
tural aspects, in a com-
pact work that emerged
superbly as a chronology
of publishing and an
anthology of American
authors. It is unmatched
by authoritativeness on
the vast subject.

Jerusalem Israel's Largest City

lem, Israel's capital, is now
the largest city in the coun-
try. By the end of 1975 its
population of 356,000 ex-
ceeded that of Tel Aviv by
2,000. The gap is steadily
widening as Jerusalem's
population increases and
that of Tel Aviv shrinks.
These figures were released
by Israel's Central Bureau
of Statistics.
Before the Six-Day War,
Jerusalem was only the
third largest city in Israel,

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with a population of 201,-
000. After the war, the addi-
tion of 65,000 Arabs from
East Jerusalem brought it
ahead of Haifa which held
second place. The swift de-
velopment of the capital
since 1967, however, has
pushed it past Tel Aviv
which held title to the larg-
est city in the country ever
since the state was created.
Tel Aviv has been laboring
under a steady loss of popu-
lation to its suburbs, yet it
remains the center of a met-
ropolitan region with a pop-
ulation of 1,175,000, while
Jerusalem's suburbs num-
ber less than 100,000 resi-
According to the statist-

ical figures released, there
are five other towns in Is-
rael with populations of
over 100,000: Haifa with
227,000; Ramat Gan with
121,000; Bat Yam with
118,000; Holon with 114,-
000 and Petah Tikva with
It is interesting to note
that in addition to the popu-
lation factor, Jerusalem is
also the largest of Israel's ci-
ties insofar as area is con-
cerned. Its municipal au-
thority extends over 108,000
dunams, as compared with
Tel Aviv's 50,000 dunams. In
this respect Tel Aviv takes
sixth place. Arad ranks sec-
ond with a municipal area
of 71,000 dunams.

Logistics Expert Daniel Leivick,
Son of Renowned Yiddish Poet

— Daniel Leivick, the
Washington Jewish
Community Center's di-
rector of Judaic studies
and Israel programs
since his retirement five
years ago as a logistics
expert at the Department
of Defense, died Sept. 14
at age 57.
Leivick, son of the fain-.
ous Yiddish poet and
dramatist, H. Leivick, for
whom a poet's house is
named in Tel Aviv, was a
test pilot in World War II
and continued his service
in the Defense Depart-
ment afterwards.
When he retired as
chief of the logistics divi-
sion of the Air Force, he
was presented with a ci-
tation which referred to
him as "A distinguished
humanist in the national
security dialogue."
Mr. Leivick had de-
voted his spare time while
at the Pentagon and later
full time to Jewish and
Yiddish culture.
At the World Yiddish

Conference recently in
Jerusalem, Leivick rep-
resented the center and
the Washington Jewish
community. He was a
board member of the
American Habonim As-
sociation, the Labor
Zionist Alliance, and the
Shalom Aleichem Insti-
tute, and a member of t'
national advisory pal
of the American Jewisn
Committee, YIVO, and
the American Economic

Marvin Sakat, 46

Marvin Sakat, a man-
ufacturer's representa-
tive in the industrial
field, died Sept. 17 at age


A native Detroiter, Mr.
Sakat was associated
with the Caine Bolt and
•Nut Co. and General
Welding Co.. He was .a
member of Bnai Brith.
He leaves his- wife,
Toby- a son, Robert; and
two daughters,
and Suzanne.

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