Title page of the first issue of Globus, July 1932, Warsaw. (YIVO)

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Yiddish literary monthly journal, published between July 1932 and April 1934. Globus was published in Warsaw by Arn Zeitlin, the chair of the Warsaw Yiddish PEN club. In this latter capacity (which he had held since 1930), Zeitlin aspired to present Yiddish literature as a modern form possessing an ancient and respectable past, while at the same time setting a high literary standard as a prerequisite for writers wishing to belong to the Yiddish PEN club.

In early 1932—a time in which Yiddish publications were abundantly available in Poland, and the market for new Yiddish books was disappearing—Zeitlin managed to implement his plan to found a new journal. Through financial support provided by philanthropists from abroad, he began publishing a Yiddish literary periodical under the rather presumptuous name Globus, with the intention of creating an official international journal for Yiddish quality literature—a publication with no particular political affiliation. Although it was never formally stated, Zeitlin served as editor of the new periodical. Zelig Melamed (1886–1946) was treasurer, and Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904–1991) was the editorial board secretary.

Letter from Arn Zeitlin in Warsaw to Abraham Liessin in New York, 28 May 1933. He is sending Liessin a poem for publication in Tsukunft and asks for his opinion on Globus, which is printing its tenth issue under difficult conditions. He complains that Liessin has not sent him anything for publication in Globus and comments that Liessin's poems are "especially close to the idealistic character of our publication." As bad as the political controversies raging in Jewish literary circles in New York might be, they are even worse in Poland. Whereas in New York groups of hangers-on tend to form around particular famous writers, this is not the case in Poland. Once upon a time, Yitskhok Leyb Peretz was idolized, but today, if he came back from the dead, he would be considered a "reactionary." Zeitlin disparages both the American Yiddish journal Oyfkum and the Polish Yiddish Vokhnblat as purveyors of literature for "ignoramuses." Yiddish. Polish and Yiddish letterhead: Globus. Monthly Journal, Warsaw, Leszno 112/78. RG 201, Abraham Liessin Papers, F941 Zeitlin. (YIVO)

As a publication aimed at the educated, intellectual reader, Globus included literary works in a variety of genres, written by a number of skilled and respected Yiddish authors, mainly from Poland and the United States. Among other items, it published complete works as serials, such as Zeitlin’s play Esterke un Kazimir der groyser (Esterke and Casimir the Great), Dovid Pinski’s play Shloyme Molkho about the pseudomessiah and kabbalist, and a Yiddish translation of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, by Ts. Shits. Globus also published Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first extended prose work, Der sotn in Goray (Satan in Goray), parts of Borekh Glazman’s novel In goldenem zump (In a Golden Swamp), and poems by Moyshe Shimel, Yitsḥak Katzenelson, Itsik Manger, and Aron Glantz Leyles.

Globus did not contain editorials or literary manifestos. Instead, it placed an emphasis on essays and political journalism dealing with a variety of both Jewish and general issues and on matters of literature and culture. One prominent feature was the public exchange of letters between Zeitlin and Shmuel Niger on new trends emerging in Yiddish literature and on the possibility of proletarian literature in Yiddish.

The periodical regularly allotted space for critical reviews of new Yiddish literature published throughout the world and for polemic articles on current literary and cultural matters, stemming mainly from Poland. This latter section was used regularly for sparring and personal score-settling between brothers Arn and Elkhonen Zeitlin and Isaac Bashevis Singer, on the one hand, and their bitter opponents from the periodicals of the radical left Vokhnshrift far literatur kunst un kultur (Bund) and Literarishe tribune (Communist), such as Yoshue Rapoport, Yankev Pat, Khayim Shloyme Kazdan, and Y. Khmurner (pseudonym of Yoysef Lestshinski). Contrary to the sedate, refined literary and linguistic standards of the theoretical and literary sections of the periodical, this section was notable for its provocative and sometimes vulgar language and style. During the second half of 1933, it became evident that financial support for the periodical was dwindling. Despite Zeitlin’s repeated pleading with his backers, he was compelled to discontinue publication in April 1934, just as his term as chair of the Yiddish PEN club came to an end.

Suggested Reading

Yeḥezkel Lifshits, “Ketav ha-‘Et Globus,” in Ben shete milḥamot ‘olam: Perakim me-ḥaye ha-tarbut shel Yehude Polin, ed. Chone Shmeruk and Samuel Werses, pp. 208–217 (Jerusalem, 1997); Yechiel Szeintuch, Bi-Reshut ha-rabim uvi-reshut ha-yaḥid: Aharon Tsaitlin ve-sifrut Yidish (Jerusalem, 2000).



Translated from Hebrew by Rami Hann