The People of the Book inthe World of Books isaRussian bimonthly publication for serious readers with Jewish interests. Our English website includes only thesummaries of thepublished articles. Toaccess the complete text of them, please visit the Russian version of this website.


August 2015

This issue of the magazine includes:

• Review: The Street near the Hotel Savoy and Their Environs

This unusual comparative review analyzes two novels with similar plots: The Street, by Yiddish prose writer and poet Yisroel Rabon (1900–1941), and Hotel Savoy, by the famous Austrian writer Joseph Roth (1894–1939). The first novel tells the tragic story of a Jewish soldier who returns home after the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1921. The second novel focuses on a demobilized Jewish veteran of World War One. Essentially, the two novels tell the same story of a person unable to find a place for himself in peacetime. Both books were recently published in Russian translation.

• Point of View: The Intricacies of Writing

This polemical essay analyzes a noticeable trend in the work of many contemporary Russian-Jewish literary scholars: they have increasingly tried to present Isaac Babel, one of the most prominent Russian Soviet writers of the 1920s and 1930s, as a Jewish writer. Moreover, the complex and ambivalent Babel has often figured in their writings as a “good,” ethnically minded, and virtually religious Jew. The author of the essay underlines that “Babel appears, in his work, as a Jew, a Soviet citizen, a Francophile, a sadist, a liar, an everyman, anyone at all, because he remains first and foremost a brilliant writer.” From this perspective, the essay harshly criticizes two articles recently published in Russian literary journals by Gregory Freidin of Stanford University and Michael Weisskopf of Hebrew University.

• Looking through Russian Literary Magazines: Novels and Articles of Jewish Interest

• Synopses: New Archival Guides

This brief review surveys three comprehensive Jewish archival guides published in recent years that deal with different regional archives in Ukraine as well as archives in the country’s capital, Kyiv.

• Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: September–October 2015

• Bibliography: 25 New Books