||Abraham Jacob Paperna (1840–1919), Hebrew writer and critic. Paperna, who was born in Kapuli, Russia, was brought up in the spirit of the moderate Haskalah which prevailed in his father's house. In 1861 he started publishing articles and poems in Ha-Meliz and Ha-Karmel. He studied in the government rabbinical seminaries of Zhitomir (1863–64) and Vilna (1864–67). At the same time he became acquainted with Russian literature and was particularly influenced by Russian literary criticism.
A bitter controversy arose over Paperna's brochure Ha-Dramah bi-Khelal ve-ha-Ivrit bi-Ferat ("Drama in General and Hebrew Drama in Particular," 1868). The brochure opens with an explanation of the basic concepts of poetry and concentrates upon tragedy, bringing examples from Greek and English drama. It then gives an account of the history of Hebrew drama from M. H. Luzzatto to A. D. Lebensohn's Emet ve-Emunah. In Ha-Meliz (1869), Paperna published an essay on Mendele Mokher Seforim's Ha-Avot ve-ha-Banim. This was to be part of a larger article on the development of the novel but the fierce controversy which this essay engendered apparently deterred him from continuing this work.
Upon his graduation from the rabbinical seminary in 1867, he was appointed teacher in the government school in Zakroczym, Poland, and in 1869 he moved to Plotsk where he worked as a teacher for some 45 years. During this time he wrote a number of Hebrew-Russian text books. After a lapse of almost 20 years Paperna returned to the field of Hebrew literature, probably under the influence of the national revival among the Jews in Russia. He wrote poems and essays, as well as two booklets, Sihot Hayyot ve-Ofot (1892), and Mishlei ha-Zeman (1893), which were sharp satires on modern civilization with allusions to the particular situation of the Jews in Russia. His memoirs appeared in the Russian-Jewish anthology Perezhitaje. His works were edited by Y. Zmora and published in Tel Aviv in 1952. Together with his contemporaries Uri Kovner and Mendele Mokher Seforim, Paperna raised Hebrew literary criticism from the level of personal invective directed against the author to systematic analysis guided by principles of literary forms and aesthetic theory.