AUCTION 64 | Thursday, March 19th, 2015 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters, Ceremonial Objects, Maps and Graphic Art

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Lot 185


Yiddish text in Latin characters. The Leyzer Ran copy, with his stamps. pp. 16. Brittle. Original pictorial wrappers, broken, stained. 12mo.

Vilna: Verlag Gerangel (self-published) 1936

Est: $5,000 - $7,000
The highly original Yiddish poet Leyzer Volf (Mekler, 1910–1943), a founding member of the literary group Yung-Vilne, was one of the great parodists in Yiddish poetry. Beloved by local audiences for his outrageous artistic gestures, including an attempt to break the world record in poetry writing with 1,001 untitled lyrics in June 1930, he bridged popular and elite impulses within Yung-Vilne, making him the group’s first local star. Volf lived in Shnipeshok (Pol., Snipiszki), a poor, working-class Vilna suburb, where he was introduced to literature and politics by his older sister, an avid consumer of Russian literature and an active Communist. Volf’s first book, the self-published Evigingo (1936) was an exotic critique of the modern condition, composed entirely in trochaic tetrameter and printed in Latin letters. Its hero, the aged Gutamingo, travels through centuries of compressed European history in a failed search for an heir, witnessing in his travels hysterical book burnings, bloody battlefields, the German Enlightenment drunk on its own sense of cultural superiority and quack Soviet science. <<WorldCat records just one single copy of this text,>> housed in the National Library of Poland. See J.D. Cammy, Tsevorfene bleter: The Emergence of Yung Vilne, in: Polin, Vol. XIV (2001) pp. 170-91 (esp. pp. 186-7); Chulyot: Journal of Yiddish Reserach Vol. III (1996) pp. 209-19. According to the online Mendele Review, Vol. 01.007 (12th June, 1997) absolutely no copies of this text are extant. Volf retreated across the Polish border with Soviet forces in October 1939. He died of starvation near Samarkand in 1943. (YIVO Encyclopedia).