H. LEYVIK: ZAYN LID UN DRAME [LEIVICK, LAYVIK, LEVICK] ה' לייוויק : זיין ליד און דראמע

Kaunas [Kovno, Kovne]: Bukhhandlung "Pasaulis" 1939. Item #42581xt

1st edition. Original printed paper wrappers, 12mo, 95 + [1] pages. Includes frontis photo. 19 cm. In Yiddish. With bookplate of “Jewish Cultural Reconstruction,” indicating that the book was found by the western Allies after WW II and given to a Jewish institution as part of rebuilding the Jewish world in the postwar years. Published in Kovno in the year of the German invasion of Poland.
H. Leivick (pen name of Leivick Halpern, 1888 - 1962) was a “Yiddish language writer, known for his 1921 ‘dramatic poem in eight scenes’ The Golem. He also wrote many highly political, realistic plays, including Shop. He adopted the pen name of Leivick to avoid being confused with Moyshe-Leyb Halpern, another prominent Yiddish poet.
Leivick was born in Chervyen, Belarus….and attended a yeshiva for several years, an experience he thoroughly disliked and depicted in his dramatic poem Chains of the Messiah. Leivick joined the Jewish Bund before or during the 1905 Russian Revolution. The influence of the organization helped to convince Leivick to become secular and to focus his writing on Yiddish rather than Hebrew.
In 1906 Leivick was arrested by Russian authorities for distributing revolutionary literature. He refused any legal assistance during his trial and delivered a speech denouncing the government instead:
I will not defend myself. Everything that I have done I did in full consciousness. I am a member of the Jewish revolutionary party, the Bund, and I will do everything in my power to overthrow the tsarist autocracy, its bloody henchmen, and you as well.
Leivick, then only eighteen, was sentenced to four years of forced labor and permanent exile to Siberia. His prison years were spent in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk, where he wrote Chains of the Messiah. In March 1912 he was marched to Siberia on foot, a journey that lasted more than four months. Leivick was eventually smuggled out of Siberia with the assistance of Jewish revolutionaries in America and sailed to America in the summer of 1913.
By the early 1920s, Leivick was writing poetry and drama for several Yiddish dailies, including the Communist Morgen Freiheit. From 1936 to his death, he wrote regularly for Der Tog. He was also active as an editor, working with fellow writer Joseph Opatoshu on an exhaustive series of Yiddish anthologies. Leivick was involved with Di Yunge, a group of avant-garde American-Yiddish poets who praised Yiddish for its artistic and aesthetic possibilities, not merely a conduit for disseminating radical politics to the immigrant masses…. Leivick spent most of his life employed as a wallpaper-hanger while simultaneously pursuing his writing….
The Leyvik House, named after H. Leivick, is a three-story building in Tel Aviv founded in 1970. It serves as the offices for the Association of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel, the H. Leyvik Publishing House, and the Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture” (Wikipedia).
SUBJECT(S): Leivick, H., 1888-1962 -- Criticism and interpretation. Yiddish essays. Yiddish poetry. OCLC: 1251482155. OCLC lists 3 holdings for actual hard copies (NLI, Brandeis, NYBC). Jewish institutional bookplate and a few stamps Pages unopened. Some faint dampstains, old cloth tape at spine, otherwise Very Good Condition. YID-44-19-UU*-’+). A very nice copy of this scarce 1939 Kovno Yiddish imprint.

Price: $275.00