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.


October 2016

This issue of the magazine includes:

• Sholem Aleichem Forever: Dangerous Intertextuality

The article analyzes the intertextual relationship between Sholem Aleichem’s short story A “vigrishne bilyet” (The Lottery Ticket) and Nikolai Gogol’s historical novella Taras Bulba. Gogol’s depiction of Jews and especially the famous pogrom scene persuaded many Jewish readers the novella was anti-Semitic, especially amidst the numerous actual pogroms in Russia during the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. Such readers would have been insulted to learn that The Lottery Ticket has some obvious connections with Taras Bulba. The author of the article suggests Sholem Aleichem consciously provoked his audience. His message was, in effect, that the fledgling Yiddish literature must learn from such a great writer as Gogol, whether he was really an anti-Semite or not.

Response: Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones

This highly polemical article discusses an album of works by the prominent Vitebsk-based painter Yehuda Pen (1854–1937), recently published in Minsk. The author harshly criticizes the introduction to this album for its attempts to downplay the Jewishness of Yehuda Pen’s oeuvre. The final passage of the article is provocative. The author compares the Soviet Union during the period of “official anti-Semitism” with the current state of affairs in Belarus. The Soviet Communist authorities considered Yehuda Pen a Jewish artist and banned all public exhibitions of his works, because they could “serve the interests of the Zionists.” On the contrary, today’s Belarus considers Pen a Belarusian artist, and his paintings are displayed in the country’s best museums. The article’s sarcastic conclusion invokes the old proverb, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

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

Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: November–December 2016

Bibliography: 20 New Books