Joseph Wittlin Zoya Yurieff - Essay

Zoya Yurieff

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

To paraphrase poetry is a difficult and ungrateful task. However, if we are to afford the foreign reader a real insight into the spiritual-creative world of [Joseph Wittlin], the author of the Hymns, we must resort to this device. We must begin by stating that they are pervaded with a sense of metaphysical longing, and intense personal experience: they read more like prayers than poems and they were so read by Wittlin's contemporaries. The Hymns are not devoid, however, of doubts and contradictions, even blasphemy. Their main theme is war, which forms a general background against which the abovementioned feelings are dynamically developed. War and Death are great tryers of the spirit. Wittlin's...

(The entire section is 3628 words.)