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.


June 2010
This issue of the magazine includes:

• Names: Elizaveta Polonskaya (1890–1969)

Russian poet, translator, and children’s writer Elizaveta Polonskaya (née Movshenson) was born 120 years ago in Warsaw to the family of a railway engineer. She spent most of her childhood in Łódź’s “Polish-Jewish environment,” according to her own recollection. After the pogroms of 1905, her family moved to St. Petersburg, where young Liza Movshenson began to participate in revolutionary workmen's circles. In 1908, in order to avoid arrest, she escaped to France where, in 1914, she graduated from the medical school of the Sorbonne University. During the First World War, she returned to Russia and served as an epidemiologist at the front. From November 1917 through the middle of the 1930s, she worked in different Soviet medical settings, combining medicine with literature. In the 1920s, she was the only woman in the famous literary circle known as the Serapion Brothers, which included such prominent Russian writers as Mikhail Zoshchenko, Veniamin Kaverin and others. Later, she worked as a journalist for Soviet newspapers. Polonskaya’s early poetry is full of Jewish themes and sentiments. Many of her poems of this period are written on Biblical subjects. In the 1930s, Jewish themes reappeared in her poems, but strictly in an anti-Fascist context. After 1940, Jewish themes completely disappeared from her poetry, but forever remained the subject of her thoughts and regrets. Here, this magazine publishes a comprehensive article about the Jewish motifs in Elizaveta Polonskaya’s poetry, as well as a large selection of her Jewish poems from the period of 1909 through 1940.

• Response: How the Jews Found Themselves in Russia and in History

This brief review criticizes a new ambitious publishing project, the multi-volume History of the Jews in Russia, the first volume of which was recently issued by Russian-Israeli publishing house Gesharim.

• Jewish Calendar of Significant Dates: July–August 2010

• Bibliography: 60 New Books