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Bidding Information
Lot #    15093
Auction End Date    7/18/2006 11:25:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kiryat Sefer
Title (Hebrew)    קרית ספר
Author    Mordecai Aaron ben Joshua Asher Guenzburg
City    Warsaw
Publisher    Isaac Goldman
Publication Date    1873
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   174 pp., octavo, 185:108 mm., nice margins, light age staining, stamps, old hands. A good copy bound in contemporary boards.
   Popular and much printed work containing one-hundred-twenty-one letters on commercial and related subjects in pure Hebrew by Mordecai Aaron ben Joshua Asher Guenzburg. The text is in a single column in square letters. This edition has supplementary material not in previous printings, added from letters One-hundred-three to the end. These letters include ethical as well as business content.

Mordecai Aaron ben Joshua Asher Guenzburg, (1795–1846) was a Hebrew author and founder of the first modern Jewish school in Lithuania. Guenzburg was born in Salantai and earned a living as an itinerant tutor until 1835 when he settled permanently in Vilna. In 1841 he and the poet Solomon Salkind founded a modern Jewish school, which he directed as headmaster until his death. Guenzburg became one of the leading spokesmen for the Vilna Haskalah, though he was a moderate who opposed radical change. He observed the practical mitzvot which, under Moses Mendelssohn's influence, he viewed as social regulations for the benefit of the Jewish community. He opposed the extremism of both the Orthodox and the secularists. When Max Lilienthal was invited to Russia by the authorities, Guenzburg joined the Vilna maskilim in attacking Lilienthal's attempts to win over the Orthodox and ridiculed his German ways and superficiality. Guenzburg's books in the area of French and Russian history enjoyed wide circulation and helped improve his financial condition. In 1844 and 1862 he published Devir (2 vols.), an anthology of letters, essays, and short stories, containing, among others, letters by Goethe, Heine, and Boerne, and a translation of the letters of Moses Montefiore's personal secretary, Eliezer Halevi, who accompanied Montefiore on his first trip to Palestine. Devir also contained essays about the neglected Jewish communities in the Arab lands, China, and Ethiopia. Devir aroused in its readers a love for Palestine and influenced Abraham Mapu and Kalman Shullmann. His autobiography Avi'ezer, his most original work, appeared in 1864. Written in the style of Rousseau's confessions, it portrays the inner world of the Jewish child, and is a ringing attack on the heder system of education. Stylistically, Guenzburg surpasses his contemporaries by far. For the sake of accuracy he resorted to mishnaic Hebrew, introducing talmudic phrases and neologisms, many of which became commonly accepted and are still in use, for example, milhemet magen ("defensive war"), milhemet tigrah ("offensive war"), rahitim ("furniture"), beit-do'ar ("post office"), etc. Guenzburg was the literary forerunner of P. Smolenskin, J. L. Gordon, M. L. Lilienblum, and R. A. Broides. His other works include: Ittotei Rusyah Ha-Zarefatim be Rusyah (1843), on the Franco-Russian War of 1812; Pi-hahiroth (1843), a history of the wars of 1813–1815.

Paragraph 2    על-פי ווילנא תר"ח. איגרון.
   BE kof 1109; D. Maggid, R. Mordecai Guenzburg 1795–1846... (Heb., 1897), includes bibliography; EJ; J. Fichmann, in: M. Guenzburg, Ketavim Nivharim (1911); Klausner, Sifrut, 3 (19603), 120–70; J. S. Raisin, The Haskalah Movement in Russia (1913), 213–21; Waxman, Literature, index; CD-EPI 0117062
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Russia-Poland:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica