A Great Jewish Poet
To the Editor:
I was immensely gratified to gather from the review of Jacob’s Dream in your January issue that at long last some tribute is being paid to the creative personality of Richard Beer-Hofmann.
This distinguished Austrian-in-exile, who completed a long and full human existence living and dying in solitary grandeur in this country, is not sufficiently known among Americans. Little from his slim but exquisite literary inheritance has been translated into English; his poems are not read, his dramas not produced. And American Jews, as yet, have not felt the obligation to honor the memory of one of their own great contemporary poets by diffusing the knowledge and appreciation of his works.
More than Jacob’s Dream, reviewed with so much understanding by Stephen Spender, another poetic drama of Beer-Hofmann’s, The Count of Charolais, would warrant an English language production on the stage. Since Shylock, no stronger or more poignantly emotional portrait of “the Jew” has been created in drama than the redhaired Itzig (originally acted by Max Reinhardt himself). Could no backers be found who would be able and willing to bring to life on an American stage this strangely passionate tragedy?
New York City