Tag Archives: Max Stirner

“THE SOCIALISTS.” by Benjamin DeCasseres

This letter to the editor was printed in The Sun, Thursday, November 4, 1909. We have not uncovered the letter he is responding to.


THE SOCIALISTS.
A Characterization of Them by One Who Has No Propaganda to Offer.
To the Editor of The Sun—Sir: In Mr. Ghent’s admirable exposition of myself in a letter to The Sun I fail to perceive a single argument advanced for socialism, but I do perceive something of that irascibility: dogmatism and intolerance which I find in all propagandists. These are the psychological germs of the coming absolutism. At the bottom of Mr. Ghent’s personality, as at the bottom of every socialist, anarchist, communist and social ameliorist, there slumbers the pontiff of a “newer dispensation.” The skilled observer may perceive in this great socialistic movement the beginnings of an intolerant ecclesiasticism, in all enslaving hierarchy, such as Comte planned.
I find all socialists admirable logicians—which means nothing, for logic is merely the mathematical justification of our own prejudices and subconscious tendencies. Each brain, each person, being a premise, each is logical. Socialism, anarchism, communism, Mormonism, are all logical if I grant their several premises. Socialism and anarchism (though their programmes differ widely they agree in this, that they are both optimistic systems, that both believe that the human will is more powerful than cosmic law, that both are ignorant of the ironical principle that roles all human movements) are products of superficial minds—men and women whose hearts are in the right place but unfortunately overflow into their brains. They are incapable of dissociating their heart needs from inexorable, implacable reality.
When I said that mankind had alga been the dupe of phrases and words I did not except myself, being still in the flesh. Personally I prefer a beautiful phrase to a dry fact. Being pessimist, an epicurean, a nihilist, I have no programme to offer the world. I am content to be a fascinated spectater of this serio-comic spectacle. I urge Mr. Merit to drop for a few weeks his socialistic bibles and read Swinburne, Keats and Leconte de Lisle. I say unto him also: Better fifty years of Max Stirner than a cycle of Karl Marx.

Benjamin DeCasseres
New York. November 2.

 

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Filed under 1845-1945, Benjamin DeCasseres

Max Stirner – Egoist Warlord

The Fra was a magazine edited by Elbert Hubbard and published by the Roycrofters fine press.  From Volume 6 Number 4, January 1911 (pages 103 – 106) comes a bombastic toast to Max Stirner by an unaccredited but unmistakable Benjamin DeCasseres. Ben later collected this piece, along with other biographical sketches, to comprise the book Forty Immortals: The Story of the World’s Great Civilizers.

IN Ralph Waldo Emerson’s revolutionary essay, “Self-Reliance” — a passionate call to arms from a mighty soul on fire with the glorified vision of its own individualized destiny — occur, among other memorable sentences, these words: “Society is everywhere in conspiracy against the manhood of each one of its members. The only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it.”

Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau uttered equally radical words. But neither of these men was an anarchist. They were too sane to take themselves literally. What they believed in was the spiritual evolution of the individual, a self-overcoming, a throttling of the ghosts in one’s own soul — the ghosts of fear and ignorance, the ghosts that within ourselves stand at the crossroads of every crisis that invites to action, demanding toll of our self-reliance.

Self-emancipation must precede social emancipation. If you want to abolish a mass you must begin by reconstructing the units of that mass. Of course you can blow the mass up with gunpowder, but you blow up the units with it.

If society everywhere conspires against the individual it is because the individual has not yet freed his mind of the fixed idea that he can do without a State. The fault comes back to each one of us. The State is not a thing; it is an organized instinct; one of the skins of evolution not yet sloughed off; a tool that has not yet completed its work in the hands of the World-Ego.

The weaknesses of “society” are the shadows of our individual weaknesses.

Its transgressions are the sum of all individual transgressions. Society is no better than the average between the best and the worst individuals living within its pale.

Its crimes against the individual are in exact ratio to the crimes of individuals against one another.

Organized society will exist so long as there is an instinct to organize among individuals.

Emerson says, let each one of us fit ourselves to do without society — just as we have out grown the old monstrous theologies. The State will then be sloughed. “Physician, heal thy self!” Social workers and anarchists today are fighting what they call “general ills.”

There are no such things.

There are only individual ills. Be yourself, emancipate yourself, abolish the State by learning to do without it — that is the message of Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Ibsen.

The latter cried, “Away with the State!” and, clairvoyant thinker that he was, he added as an afterthought — “of course, I mean by spiritual means.”

Nietzsche wrenched man out of his social socket and made him a beatified Cain. He was the poet of the Ego. Had he ever heard of Max Stirner, the War-Lord of the Ego?

“The Ego and His Own”

STIRNER’S book, “The Ego and His Own,” is the last word in egoism — the last word in revolt. It is not the most dangerous book ever written, because its philosophy is hopelessly impracticable. Ibsen and Emerson and Whitman are more dangerous in their teachings than Stirner. The latter has given us one of the most stimulating books ever written, a book that thrills, invites a man to himself; a book that lays all the sacred spooks and ultimately brings the reader ’round.

Egoism makes strange bedfellows!

You shall leave all; the Kingdom of God is within you. Max Stirner makes the Ego of man God, and to serve it you shall leave the State, the home, the family, religion and everything that battens on the aspiring soul of man, though after he has gotten rid of all these “earthly spooks,” just what you should aspire toward is not clear, unless it be what Stirner calls man’s “Ownness” — a word that Kipling makes comprehensible in his famous injunction, — “What you want go and take.”

Stirner’s Individualism

THE individualism of Stirner is thus founded on the most rational idea in the world — the idea that only the individual is glorified, that only I matter — with the most irrational implications.

Away with State, Church and family! — they prevent my Ego from realizing itself. Crime is my business. Citizenship is slavery. Parents maim their children from the cradle. Society tickets me. Laws prevent me from getting my “own.” What I can do, that is right. Evil is failure. Success is the only righteousness. All regulation is emasculation. Only I, myself, am holy. The thing I can use is good; the thing that uses me is bad.

Altruism is merely sickness of the will.

All this is not as dangerous as it sounds, for as a matter of fact all strong men-all men who do anything in life at all, all those who differentiate themselves from the mass — act on those principles in one degree or another, generally unconsciously.

Men never like to have their motives to action formulated. They hate even to formulate the matter secretly to themselves. And Max Stirner’s boldness merely consisted in putting what he thought into print. The Albany and Harrisburg legislatures are reeking with men who would no doubt suppress Stirner’s book if they ever heard of it—men would long ago have known the book if it had been titled, “Cash; or Grab Your Own.” Stirner’s anarchy is purely analytic and idealistic. But at Albany and Harrisburg the brand of anarchy is intensely practical.

And to Stirner’s individualism there is a rational, majestic, sublime side. His Ego is the hungry animal inside of us all, an animal that has intelligence and imagination, it is true, but an animal nevertheless in that every movement of its psychic, physical and emotional nature is toward its own. Men will only marry and procreate, they will only pay taxes and support churches, as long as they can be made to believe that they are getting something out of these things; they are good so long as the good gives them pleasure —that is, swells their own Ego. They are good and altruistic for the same reasons that they are bad and egoistic: they believe there is a gain somewhere to them. For at bottom when you tear away the rags and tatters of hypocrisy and the moldy crusts of convention that cover the real palpitating core of a man, what will you find? A being that adores itself and loves and worships only where it believes it is loved and benefited by that worship in return.

Stirner asks, “What is good?” And he answers, “What I can use.”

Conservation of the Ego

MAN is a warrior. No matter how subtle and complex life becomes, as in New York City today, no matter how highly “civilized” we boast of being, it is our own — our “ownness,” Stirner calls it — that we are battling for. We each of us, whether in a “state of nature” or a state of society, are fighting for the conservation of the Ego.

Some of us believe that the marriage institution, children, the State, help us to conserve that Ego; others believe that these adjuncts suppress it. It depends on the Ego. A business man, generally speaking, finds it aids him to subscribe to the common plan of life. A thinker like Herbert Spencer or Schopenhauer finds it does not. But both classes of men worship at the shrine of the same god-the Ego. Self was the first law; today, as ever, it is the first virtue.

The Ego is a blood-smeared fact. Man once lived in a perpetual state of war; he brutally struck down whatever stood in his way — if he was not struck down first. Today we are still in a state of war, but for the same reason that we found it necessary to kill in the old time we find it necessary now to preserve. The Ego seeks its own through destruction and construction. There was a time when kindness and goodness and charity would have destroyed the race. Use was God; Use is still God. We, the men and women of today, with top-hats and lorgnettes and tin pails and steam-shovels, are not different in our aims from the caveman and shaggy brute that peered out of the forest brambles. Scratch us and the old ghost walks again. We are still the victims of egomania. Our methods are different — that’s all.

This warrior instinct can not die. It is our virtue. It is our sap and our virility. We are becoming masters now of the death-dealing forces in us and around us; we have disciplined the things that disciplined us at It is another mask for Ego. It is on these unquestionable truths that Max Stirner has reared his doctrine of the Ego.

Self-Sacrifice

HENCE it follows that this announcer of Ego does not admit the idea of self-sacrifice into his scheme of life. And here again Stirner thinks boldly and clairvoyantly. For no doctrine has had more adherents and fewer sincere believers than the doctrine of self-sacrifice. Ego will not be sacrificed. It will lend, but will not vanish. Self-sacrifice should be the prerogative of power; as it is, it is most often the excuse that weakness makes for its inability to live for itself alone. Suppose the doctrine of self-sacrifice became universal! We should have the absurd spectacle of each person living for the good of some other person. That, of course, is unthinkable. Self-sacrifice must, in the very nature of things, be subterranean egoism.

Stirner speaks of the “egoism of the stars.” It is a good example. Each star shines for itself; as an incidence of power it throws its radiance into space, giving light to the darkness, shedding warmth. But its giving is incidental. It exists first of all for itself. The good it causes comes out of its surplus. And self-sacrifice should be self-glorification. All gifts should be gifts of power, not a hand-out from Duty. “Everything is for me!” cries Stirner.

Even what he gives is still his. And there can be nothing to give unless one has cultivated his Ego before conferring the gift. Unless the gardener has given his time to raising the most beautiful plants, how can his gift be worthy? Strangle your instincts, throttle your inner nature, stifle the soul’s cry for joy and power and its hunger for its “ownness” — and Nature will brand you a sloven in your very gait and secrete the venom of your secret spite in all your “gifts.”

The Socialistic Bugbear

STIRNER’S doctrine of the Ego leaves a no room for the Socialistic state. He deals sledge-hammer blows at that fallacy. Socialism is to him, as it appeared to Herbert Spencer and Gustave Le Bon, another form of slavery.

Socialism is only that old enemy, the State, popularized. The mantle has fallen from the shoulders of the old gods onto a newer being — the People. The Socialist believes that the State can do what the individual can not do, forgetting that the State is no other thing than the people. As Stirner truly says, there is no such thing as a body; there are only bodies — that is, the State, like all abstractions, is a myth; there are only individuals with Ego.

The Socialist believes there are individuals and a State. He makes a thing out of a word, galvanizes it into a semblance of life, sticks a crown on its head, puts a gilded wand in its hand, sits it on a throne of theories, and cries, “Behold the Deliverer of Man—the State, the People!”

Always the slave of words — this poor bewildered Man!

Always there is a New Jerusalem — a lazy man’s Utopia! Once it was Paradise — now it is Socialism. It is only the latest illusion. There is no short cut to happiness. There is no backstairs to the House of Life. What the individual can not do for himself the State can not do for him. Nothing degrades like dependence; nothing undermines a man like the certain guarantee of a living. The Ego must fight and bleed for its “own” — that makes the Ego godlike.

The Social Slavery

STIRNER foresaw this great Socialistic propaganda that is on us. He foresaw a slavery more terrible than that which ever prevailed in ancient times following the erection of the Socialistic State. By destroying the competitive system, the principle of individuality, the profoundest principle in Nature, would be sapped at the core. Men, always certain of life and the necessities, would lose the one supreme characteristic of their manhood-the ability to struggle and to conquer.

Under Socialism we should be ruled by a gigantic Trust called the State or the People — all names for one thing. The Ego would be regulated as in medieval times, and on the same theory, the theory of all tyrants—— “public improvement.” Instead of a few politicians we would have a world of ’em.

What should a man be helped to do, then? To make a better fight, to give a deadlier blow, to strike surer, to battle for the preservation of Ego. But he should be guaranteed nothing except death if he fails. What is injustice? The equal distribution of goods — guaranteeing to those who can not fight; preserving the weak at the expense of the strong. All men are born unequal. Socialism — the Social State, Stirner calls it — is confiscation of Ego. It is popular with those who have nothing.

Nature’s Unit Value

WHATEVER of great things has been done in the world has been done by the individual.

The individual — not the State or the family — is Nature’s unit value.

All that makes for material or mental develop ment has sprung from individual initiative, lashed by the thongs of Pride and Necessity — lured by the lust for Power. And wherever the State or the Church has attempted to regulate the individual and the activity of the Ego, decay has followed. The Dark Ages were dark because the Ego was dead. The Ego awakened with Dante, Gutenberg, Michelangelo and Martin Luther.

The old autocracy reigned on the theory that one man should rule all men.

The new autocracy is called Socialism; it merely reverses the scheme.

It believes that all men should rule each man.

Socialism abolishes the fear of danger in the Ego of the individual. She smashes his mainsprings, fear and courage. No man is born with a right to a living, or to anything else. Man’s only right is a competitive right. The State is always evil, asserts Stirner — and Socialism is merely another gag for our tongues and fetters for our feet.

Max Stirner’s dream of an emancipated Ego is futile, but his reasons for dreaming it were sublime. The direction his thought takes is right, but he had visions beyond the reaches of our souls. He imposes on our brains a sublime ideal of human development. It is like the North Star, a great light to steer by, but he who tries to reach it is mad, mad, mad, my lords.

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Filed under 1845-1945, Benjamin DeCasseres, Historical Work, Max Stirner, Trevor Blake

The Occult Technology of Power – Stirner used for World Domination

occulttechbook-frontcover-09-15-2016-finalIn 1974 a programme was published that detailed the worldview of globalist elites who took Max Stiner’s philosophy seriously to guide them to take and retain power over the masses. First published Apline Industries in 1974, it was quickly picked up by Mike Hoy’s Loompanics (publisher of Ragnar Redbeard‘s Might is Right with S.E. Parker introduction) and then later by Noontide Press (publisher of Revisionist material), and now Underworld Amusements (run by UnionOfEgoists.com editor-in-chief) copies have been scarce and generally demand $50+.

This booklet springs directly from the Stirner-revival happening in the late 60’s and into the early 70’s. When it was first published in English, Benjamin Tucker called The Ego and His Own both the “Anarchists’ Bible” and the “Billionaire’s Bible”:

Since that time the book has mostly been known as a sort of Bible for Individualist Anarchists and Egoists, two groups with heavy overlap. The Occult Technology of Power pulls Stiner from the grips of poor radicals and puts it into the hands of a cabal of the super powerful.

Not only is fraudulent bluff and bluster used to achieve dominance but fraudulent altruism and collective institutions are used to conceal dominance once achieved. Human hierarchies, in contrast to the animal variety, are best sustained when the members are deluded regarding the oppressive nature, or better, even the very existence of the hierarchy! –OTP

And if the reader was somehow skeptical of the tie in to Egoism, I offer a second quote that could have been pulled from any Stirner meme-laden shitposting:

However, in the current era, while minds are yet in the thrall of altruistic collectivistic, and divine moralistic spooks, the egoist’s rational course is to utilize such spooks to control others.  –OTP

Though flawed bootleg text files are all over the internet, this new edition is by and far the best designed and now has an appendix with two revelatory texts.

 

otop-angela

otop-netanyahu

otop-cobb

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Filed under 1946-Today, Book, Max Stirner

“Der Eyntsiger un Zayn Eygentum”, Stirner’s book in Yiddish, and radical Nyu York Jewish culture.

This is a very rough post collecting what facts I’m able to uncover regarding a topic I was wholly unfamiliar with. It may serve as notes for something that I or even you write later on.

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Title page of “Der Eyntsiger un Zayn Eygentum.”

By the time Abba (sometimes spelled Aba) Gordin (1887-1964), publisher of The Clarion (1932), arrived in New York, Jacob Maryson had long been publishing his own translation work.

 

Y. A. Merison (aka Jacob Abraham Maryson) (1866-1941) was a Jewish translator/publisher in New York. I discovered him because of his “Der Eyntsiger un Zayn Eygentum”, which you can probably guess is St. Max’s book in Yiddish.  It was published by Kropotkin Literatur Gezelshaft (Kropotkin Literary Society), New York (aka Nyu York) in 1916.

The Kropotkin Literary Society, was founded on the Prince Kropotkin’s 70th birthday (1913?). It was the intent of the society to publish Anarchist and Socialist literature in Yiddish.

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Cover and spine.

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Table of Contents

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According to Immigrants against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America by Kenyon Zimmer, Maryson was appointed editor of “was the longest-running anarchist periodical in the Yiddish language”  Fraye Arbeter Shtime, aka פֿרייע אַרבעטער שטימע‎ (Yiddish); The Free Voice of Labor (English), but only lasted a few months because he refused to publish a pro-Russian Communist Party article. Abba Gordin, was a contributor to the journal. Michael E. Coughlin’s journal The Dandelion (1977) Vol. 1, No. 4 was a memorial issue when the Freie Arbeiter Stimme folded.

Paul Avrich notes in his Anarchist Voices that Hilel Solotaroff (1865-1921 was a jewish physician and anarchist on the East Side who both contributed to Fraye Arbeter Shtime and was an executive member of Kropotkin Literary Society.

In the same book Averich mentions bookstore owner/bibliophile Max N. Maisel as being a charter member of the Kropotkin Literary Society, and his distribution of Kropotkin, Thoreau, Wilde that “he published himself.” Maisel sold tickets to Emma Goldman lectures and distributed anarchist periodicals such as Free Society and Mother Earth. The Margaret Sanger Papers has a biographical sketch of Maisel that says “He published a compilation of Margaret Sanger’s New York Call series, What Every Girl Should Know (1916), and also published What Every Mother Should Know (1916). Maisel was also the publisher of the New York Tageblat, a Jewish daily, and translations of many Yiddish-language books.” Archive.org has a few scans of books he published in both English and Yiddish: https://archive.org/search.php?query=publisher%3A%22Max+N.+Maisel%22 There seems to be a scholarly biography in Hebrew here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/23568453?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents


One website had a list of other titles Maryson has translated, including links to digital versions:

 


There is a documentary from 1980 called “The Free Voice of Labor: The Jewish Anarchists” by Steve Fischler and Joel Sucher that touches on some of this time period and milieu.


The following article touches upon the Kropotkin Literary Society, and the larger Jewish literary culture it existed in.

Yiddish Books and Their Readers

By A. A. ROBACK

(as published in The Nation, Vol. 107 No. 2780, October 12, 1918)

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Title page image of Das Kapital in Yiddish from Kropotkin Literatur Gezelshaft (not in original story)

UNTIL recently the literary achievements of the Jewish people were the productions of their geniuses. The activity of the masses, or rather their appreciation and interest, were unconsidered. With the development of a Yiddish literature came the education of the lower classes; and it is their reaction to literature with which we are at present concerned. The genius of a nation manifests itself in the works actually produced by that nation; its taste, however, is discernible in the translations from foreign authors. There are comparatively few translations in Yiddish, and as late as 1890 Jules Verne was the only foreign author whose stories were given a Yiddish version, in the form of abridged adaptations. At one time, the Yiddish book market was flooded with such books of adventure. Zola and Tolstoy also enjoyed great popularity among the Jewish working classes, but the translations that were turned out could scarcely be regarded as anything more than abstracts. Even now only three or four of the latter’s novels have appeared unabridged in Yiddish, while Zola has not fared so well. Stories like his were those that all shopgirls and workingmen with any sort of intellectual pretchsions were expected to read; and in order to give them their fill of realism a portion of Boccaccio’s Decameron was Yiddished by the same “translator” and published by the same firm, whose main business consists in providing the older Jews with prayer books and other religious supplies.

It is characteristic of an abnormal literature like Yiddish that the great masters of all times have been totally neglected. Cervantes’s great work constitutes the sole exception. It is only within the last three years that small fragments of Homer have been translated—to appear only in the scarcely read anthologies of the “young” group of Yidlish poets. The literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans is an unknown quantity to the Yiddish-speaking public. A translation of Molière’s “Précieuses Ridicules” printed privately in England is all that the classical French period has contributed to modern Jewish literature.

The Golden Age of German literature is not much better off in the ghetto. It required the strenuous efforts of a typesetter not only to set but to translate and publish at his own risk “Werther’s Leiden.” When this book ran into the second edition, he was encouraged to translate Lessing’s “Emilia Galotti,” but this venture did not turn out successfully. The four volumes of Goethe that were published afterwards by the concern above referred to contain nothing but adaptations. The view of this publishing house seems to be that it is in many ways more economical for the Jewish reader to get the substance of a great book out of an abridgment or abstract.

Schiller, not to mention the lesser poets of his day, had until lately been ignored by Yiddish literature as if he had never existed. Recently, however, “Die Räuber” has been translated into Yiddish prose. Heine has been saved from total oblivion in the ghetto because of his Jewish racial affiliations and the scintillating brilliancy that runs throughout his works, both poetry and prose. Yet even Heine has received little recognition from his ghetto brethren. Many, no doubt, will be astonished to learn that, apart from a volume of abstracts, Shakespeare has been represented in Yiddish by a single work—an admirable translation of “The Merchant of Venice” by the young anarchist poet Bovshover, who died about three years ago in a hospital for the insane. Into Hebrew several of Shakespeare’s plays had been translated by a Jewish convert to Christianity whose initials appear on the title page of the books. The same author has also to his credit a Hebrew rendering of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” In Yiddish . only the first few stanzas of this work are to be found in an old periodical. It is most important to note that the Hebrew reader and the Yiddish reader represent two totally different strata of Jewish society. One may safely venture to say that the “Vicar of Wakefield” will never be translated into Yiddish unless through some very peculiar circumstance; yet

Hebrew literature had a version of this quaint novel over twenty years ago. Of the other British authors, Defoe, Swift, with “Gulliver’s Travels,” George Eliot, with “Daniel Deronda,” Dickens, with “David Copperfield,” Scott, with “Ivanhoe,” and Kipling, with the “Jungle Book,” are the fortunate ones to be introduced to Yiddish readers. With the exception of the adaptations from Swift, these translations have been published in Russia, where a greater idealism is manifested in literary circles than is the case in this country. If we add to the previous list a sprinkling of Byron, scattered here and there throughout defunct periodicals, one of Conan Doyle’s detective stories, Olive Schreiner’s “Dreams,” and Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” and “The Soul of Man Under Socialism,” the list of British authors patronized by the Yiddish reader, or, perhaps better, by the translator, is exhausted. It is the modernistic trend that seems to have impressed the Yiddish-speaking intelligentsia—not the dreamy, highly symbolistic modernism of Hofmannsthal and Bahr, or even of Verlaine and Baudelaire, if the period of the latter is not too remote to be considered modernistic. Social problems of a psychological nature are what the Jewish intellectuel is seeking, and generally these problems nowadays are bound up with an erotic element. The intelligent ghetto Jew will not appreciate the fiction that commonly appears in our American magazines. His aesthetic sense differs widely from that of the average American reader, who is interested in thrilling plot, snappy dialogue, and cleverly turned

phrases, rather than in clear-cut pictures of the various characters, their psychology, and also the problems thrown into relief by the story. The more or less intelligent Jewish workingman will sacrifice the elaborateness of the plot for the psychological situation, and will, on the whole, react more critically to the details that go to establish its vraisemblance. That is why Russian realism makes such a strong appeal to the Jew. There are other reasons for the close affinity between the two literatures. The sojourn of six million Jews in Russia is no slight factor in the result, but this circumstance by no means tells the whole story. It does not explain, for instance, why Pushkin, Lermontov, Lomonossov, Gogol, and other first-rate Russian writers of the old school do not exist for the Yiddish-speaking reader, while Artzibashev’s “Sanyin” appears in two different Yiddish translations and is followed by a series of like “gems” by the same author. It may be said that Russian literature has exercised a tremendous influence upon the Jewish mind by dint of its realism. Most of the modern Russian writers are represented in Yiddish literature. Here we find Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, Tchernishevsky, Yushkevitz, Korolenko, Andreyev, Tchirikov, Gorky, Kuprin, Veressayev, and Artzibashev. Linked with these is the Pole Przybyszewsky, four of whose works have been published in Yiddish, including an unexpurgated edition of his “Homo Sapiens.” Of the whole modernistic group of Slavic writers, Przybyszewsky is probably the most uncanny and the greatest sex-monger. Przybyszewsky’s plays are frequently staged by Jewish amateurs. Of the other Polish writers, Sienkiewicz and Elize Orzeszkowa have received some attention in Jewish literary circles, the latter because of her philosemitic sentiments. Ibsen’s hold on the ghetto élite is to be accounted for only by the social problems in which the Jew is so engrossed. Most of Ibsen’s problems fit in with the various “isms” rampant in the ghetto. Strindberg’s name, though not so widely known as that of Ibsen, is likely to become even more popular among the Jewish working people. Björnson, though universally more famous, is much less of a favorite than Strindberg, and is known to the Jewish reader only through two or three plays. Of contemporary Teutonic authors, Hauptmann, Sudermann, and Schnitzler appeal very much to the ghetto taste; but it must be emphasized that only certain phases of these writers have made their way into Yiddish literature. The symbolistic phase of Schnitzler or the picturesque side of Sudermann’s talent will scarcely ever be disclosed to the Yiddish reader. If a close search is made for the bond that unites the various foreign authors who have received prominence in Yiddish literature, it will be discovered that the links constituting the chain are criticism of society,discussion of social problems, psychological analysis, and lastly, the erotic note dominant in these works. The Yiddish newspapers in this country have not been slow to detect the general tendency of their readers; and for years they have traded on the undeveloped and one-sided intelligence of the ghetto intellectuels. The keen competition evinced by the largest radical Yiddish newspapers, some time ago, furnishes us with interesting psychological material in this regard. No sooner did one newspaper announce as a forthcoming serial one of the more voluptuous novels of Catulle Mendès, in its Yiddish title “Beautiful Arabella,” than its contemporary and close competitor made it known that an unexpurgated translation of Maupassant’s “Une Vie,” expanded as “The Life of a Woman,” would shortly appear in its columns. Again, when one of the newspapers, turning to Teutonic \

authors, resolved to entertain its readers with a translation of Elisabeth Schein’s “White Slave,” the other published serially a translation of Madame Boehme’s “Diary of a Ruined Girl.” We have already intimated that the Jewish intellectuel is impregnated with modernism. This seems to be a trait of the race in general, but particularly is this proclivity noticeable in the literature read by the Jewish proletariat. Psychological analysis in fiction is what the Jewish mind craves. Thus it is that Knut Hamsun, who is known to but few English readers, is widely read in Yiddish. The exaggerated introspection of his “Hunger,” so tedious to the average educated Anglo-Saxon reader, seems to delight the Jewish intellectual—Jewish and not merely Yiddish, because this work was translated into Hebrew some years before it appeared in Yiddish. Hamsun is the only foreign author whose writings are more accessible in Yiddish than in English, while Przybyszewsky and Artzibashev are close seconds in this respect. Maeterlinck’s name looms large in the ghetto, but his reputation there rests entirely on the “Blue Bird,” “Pelléas et Mélisande,” and one or two playlets. The attitude of the Jews towards American literature is most interesting. There is a general belief among them that American fiction is shallow, and very few Yiddish speaking Jews would condescend to read an American writer. It may be said without exaggeration that American literature is practically ignored by the children of the ghetto. Even such radicals as Walt Whitman and Jack London, though frequently referred to in articles, have not found favor in the eyes of Jewish translators or publishers. With the exception of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Poe’s “The Raven” and several of his stories, Longfellow’s “Hiawatha” (in a splendid translation by the poet Yehoash), Bellamy’s “Looking Backward,” and a snatch of Mark Twain, Americans are not represented in Yiddish literature. There seems to

be a wide gulf between the literary taste of the American and that of the Jew. To determine what constitutes this gulf is a task for the ethnic psychologist. In passing to the literature of science and philosophy we note the same partiality and one-sidedness. Books are not translated because of their intrinsic merit, but rather on account of the radical ideas they are calculated to dissemimate among the masses. All the great autobiographies have been sacrificed for Kropotkin’s “Memoirs of a Revolutionist,” which came out in two different translations. Biology is represented, not by Darwin’s works, not by Lamarck, Buffon, or de Vries, but by Kropotkin’s “Mutual Aid.” Adam Smith and Ricardo are ignored for Lassalle, Proudhon, Karl Marx, and Kropotkin. Lassalle’s “Capital and Labor” (translated and edited by the present writer at the request of the Kropotkin Literature Society) is the only scientific work which is accessible in Yiddish and not in English. . When it is considered that out of about a dozen foreign scientific works extant in Yiddish four are translations of Kropotkin, the lack of perspective manifested by the literary leaders of the ghetto will be appreciated. In the face of the facts presented here, it is difficult to countenance the statement found in Nelson’s Encyclopedia (in the article on Yiddish) that “translations of scientific works are especially numerous.” The truth of the matter is that Yiddish is lamentably deficient in such translations. If the ghetto Jew reveals a modernistic bent in his taste for belles-lettres, his scientific sources, it must be said, are strangely antiquated. The reason is that the intellectual lights of the Jewish proletariat are stationary in their views, and are satisfied with what they read years ago. For them

biology has not advanced since Darwin, psychology has made no progress since Wundt’s début, Marx’s “Kapital” is the most recent achievement in economics, and Max Müller’s conclusions are the last word on the development of religion and cognate subjects. The physical sciences are represented in Yiddish, not by the works of Newton, Helmholtz, Lavoisier, and Flammarion, but by Bernstein’s series of popular books, which were of great service to the common people in Germany some forty years ago, but are entirely out of date at present. This translation, however, remains the only contribution to popular science in Yiddish. History centres around the French Revolution, and political Science is confined to Kautsky’s Erfurt Programme, Eltzbacher’s exposition of Anarchism, Kropotkin’s works, and a pamphlet (“Evolution and Revolution”) by the famous geographer and anarchist, E. Reclus. Bebel’s “Woman and Socialism” is about all that we find of sociology in Yiddish. Philosophical literature in Yiddish is in a still more deplorable state. We can exhaust the list of such books by mentioning Mill’s “Liberty,” Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra,” Stirner’s “The Ego and His Own,” and Spencer’s “Education” and part of his “First Principles.” Plato and Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Hegel, and Schopenhauer are, at best, mere names to intelligent Yiddish readers. The last two seem to be more popular names than the rest— the former because Marx is supposed to have been one of his disciples, and the latter on account of his pessimism, which chimes in so well with the medley of immature views entertained by the average Jewish radical. Let it not be understood that Yiddish is low in the scale of literatures. It possesses unmistakable vitality, but for the present only in its original productions. The late J. L. Peretz and Sholem Aleichem (S. Rabinowitz)—the pillars of Yiddish literature—were indubitably writers of the first rank; and if they have not received in non-Jewish circles the recognition they merited, the reason lies in the untranslatability of their art into foreign languages. This is not a limitation attaching to the genius of these two men, but results rather from the peculiar individuality and constant Separatism of the Jewish people. The translations of the ghetto do not compare in any way with its original productions. The causes are not far to Seek. The more or less assimilated Jews rarely read Yiddish. The devotees of Yiddish are generally of a radical turn of mind with a hankering after problem literature. Not abstract questions, but problems of the day, interest them; these interests have become a tradition, if not a cult, with them. To the ghettointellectuel, Marx is a more profound thinker than Kant and Spinoza combined; Kropotkin, the greatest savant of contemporary times, if not of all ageS. During the last few months, there have appeared translations of Engels and Marx. At the same time, the publication in Yiddish of Hamlet and Julius Caesar, of several volumes of Heine’s poems, of Grant Allen’s “The Woman Who Did It,” and Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Grey,” as well as a portion of Rolland’s “Jean-Christophe,” and three of Brandes’s works (on the French Revolutionary Period, Nietzsche, and Ibsen) would indicate that restricted radicalism is gradually giving way to a more catholic literary point of view among the intellectuels of the East Side. Incidentally it may be noted that the war has affected Yiddish literature comparatively less than the American book market. In fact, Yiddish literary productions have been increasing in number in spite of obvious drawbacks which the publishers face at present.

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i-studies and Non Serviam journals archived…

MyOwnWe created the Journals main page to not only have a specific place to archive i-studies (2001), Non Serviam (1992) and a few other journals, but to at least begin to document other rare individualist anarchist and egoist journals. Where we aren’t hosting full archives, we at least would like to have a basic write-up and possibly a listing of the contents and contributors of the issues. UoE is missing the PDF of issue 24 of Non Serviam, contact us if you have a copy. One thing we will try to do is include the date of the first issue when we mention the title of a journal. While it may not be confusing to just refer to Modern Slavery without putting (2012) behind it, our study has uncovered THREE different journals titled The Egoist.

We have also begun integrating i-studies.com materials into other areas of the website, such as the Stirner images page.

All the while we still have work to clean up various pages and get some basic information. We have created a Social/Web page for some select links (though I’d like to use a different term than “social”, it’s the common way to refer to services like Facebook).

Your expertise could make UoE better. If you see an error, have new or more information on a page that you see, or otherwise have a suggestion or would like to assist in some way, please contact us.

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