The Spirit Returneth, by Selma Stern
This historical novel, by a German historian now in this country, deals with the massacres of German Jews in the 14th century, and is an effort to put the past and the present in a juxtaposition shedding clarity on both. Unfortunately, the attempts fails—especially as a novel. Issues and characters are drawn in sharp black and white; understanding and sympathy are frightened away by the author’s unrestrained emotional treatment. Whatever trust we can place in Miss Stern’s understanding of the historical background is weakened by her book’s romantic simplicity and dense religious revivalism.
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