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Bidding Information
Lot #    14701
Auction End Date    6/13/2006 12:06:30 PM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kol Shirei Menahem Mendel Dolitski
Title (Hebrew)    כל שירי מנחם מענדל דאליצקי
Author    [Only Ed.] Menahem Mendel Dolitski
City    New York
Publisher    A. H. Rosenberg
Publication Date    1895
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   First edition. Portrait, 64 pp., 211:144 mm., wide margins, light age staining. A very good copy bound in the original half marbled paper and cloth boards.
   Poetry by Menahem Mendel Dolitski (1856–1931), Hebrew and Yiddish poet and author. Born in Bialystok, he received a traditional Orthodox education. At the age of 19 he wrote a long satiric poem, Likkui Shenei ha-Me'orot, o Shenei Zaddikim she-Hibbelu Zeh ba-Zeh ("The Eclipse of Both Luminaries, or Two Zaddikim Who Harmed One Another,") published in Ha-Shahar (1879), then in book form. In this poem he mockingly describes the way of life of the hasidic groups. He served as a Hebrew teacher in various towns, and in 1881 was an eyewitness to pogroms in southern Russia, which had a profound effect on him. In his poem Ha-Ikkar ve-ha-Nozah ("The Farmer and the Feather," 1884) and his stories Be-Tokh Leva'im ("Among Lions," Ha-Meliz 1884, also in book form) and Mi-Bayit u-mi-Huz ("From Inside and Outside," Ha-Meliz 1890–91, also in book form), he described the sufferings of the Jews in Russia. After the pogroms he joined the Hibbat Zion movement and wrote poems of yearning for Zion in the spirit of this movement. The poems are colorless and full of cliches but nevertheless exude warmth and innocent romanticism. From 1882 to 1892 he lived in Moscow where he worked as Hebrew secretary to the philanthropist K. Z. Wissotzky. He wrote a biography of Wissotzky called Mofet le-Rabbim ("An Example to Many," 1894). At the same time he published various collections of letters: Shevet Sofer (1883); Niv Sefatayim (1892); and later Ha-Et (1906), which include some interesting letters of A. Mapu and P. Smolenskin.

In 1892, when the Jews were expelled from Moscow, Dolitzki emigrated to New York and was warmly received by the small band of Hebrew maskilim in the U.S. He began publishing descriptions of the persecution of Jews in Russia in the journal Ha-Ivri, mainly in poetic form. His epic poem dealing with the forced conscription of Jewish children Ha-Halom ve-Shivro ("The Dream and its Meaning"), which he had started in Russia but could not publish there because of censorship, appeared in 1904. Despite the efforts of the Hebraists in the U.S. to assist him, he found no way of making a living from Hebrew writing. After working at various jobs he finally took up writing for the daily Yiddish press, turning out serialized novels which catered to the popular reader. He died in Los Angeles.

In his youth he was highly regarded as a Hebrew writer and poet, and his poems and stories were very popular with the Hebrew reading public of his day. J. L. Gordon, in a poem dedicated to Dolitzki on his departure for America, views him as his heir in Hebrew poetry ("Here, take my pen, rise and inherit my place"). However, after his arrival in America a period of decline set in, from which he never recovered. His last years were spent in poverty, and he was quite forgotten. A list of his Hebrew works in translation appears in Goell, Bibliography, 20–21.

Paragraph 2    ישנים וגם חדשים יוצאים לאור על ידי חברת אנשים אוהבי שפת עבר בנויארק. ספר א ...

עמ' [5] - 6: במקום הקדמה; שיר, מאת יהודה ליב גארדאן הפותח "למה תבכה, למה תיליל נ'דד חלכה" ומסיים "הא לך עטי, עלה רש מקומי!". נכנס ל"כל שירי יהודה ליב גארדאן", ווארשא תרס"ה, ספר ה, עמ' 128-129. כל השירים, כולל שירו של יל"ג, נכנסו ל"שירי מנחם", נויארק תר"ס.

   CD-EPI 0125420; Singerman 4827; Hebrew Publishing in America 414; Deinard 372
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
America-South America:    Checked
Other:    Poetry
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica