Nine Yiddish Writers
over the Jewish problem that shook Russian Judaism in those days of storm and unrest. The questions of Zionism, nationalism, cosmopolitanism, the revival of Palestinism, the amalgamation of national and revolutionary principles, the neo-chassidism, these and many other creeds that sprang into life during those memorable days influenced Asch not as a crusader for one cause or the other, but as an interpreter of them all, as an artist purely and faithfully.
In the comparatively short period of his literary activity, Asch has gained wide popularity in the cultural spheres of Russia, Germany and Poland. His dramas have often appeared in the leading theatres of Berlin, Warsaw and Petersburg. His stories have been welcomed in the best periodicals of those countries. Though one of the youngest of Yiddish writers, his fame in the non-Yiddish world has not been equalled by any one of his predecessors and contemporaries.
How to account for it? Wide popularity doesn't necessarily proceed from superior qualities, recognition in strange lands isn't always the result of merited triumphs. But in the case of Sholom Asch such is the truth. The young Yiddish literateur has entered the world of fame by his own effort, his own
[ 100 ]