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Glanz-Leyeles, Aaron


GLANZ-LEYELES, AARON (1889–1966), U.S. Yiddish poet and essayist. Born in Vloclawek, Poland, he was educated in his father's talmud torah in Lodz, studied literature at the University of London (1905–08) and, after immigrating to New York in 1909, at Columbia University (1910–13). He taught at Yiddish schools, lectured on Yiddish literature, edited Yiddish journals, and for more than half-a-century wrote articles on literary, social, and political events for the New York daily Der Tog. His prose appeared primarily under the name, A. Glanz, and his verse under the pseudonym A. Leyeles. In 1919, together with Jacob *Glatstein and N.B. *Minkoff, he founded the *In-Zikh ("Introspectivist") movement of Yiddish poetry and the literary organ In Zikh for the propagation of the Inzikhist credo. While his first book of poetry, Labirint ("Labyrinth," 1918), rejected impressionistic effects and intricate traditional forms, his second book, Yungharbst ("Young Autumn," 1922), followed the Inzikhist doctrines. It was followed by Rondos un Andere Lider ("Rondos and Other Poems," 1928) and Tsu Dir – tsu Mir ("To You – to Me," 1933). Fabius Lind (1937), an autobiography in verse, told the story of his spiritual odyssey and was prefaced by a restatement of his literary beliefs. A Yid Oyfn Yam ("A Jew at Sea," 1947) consisted of lyrics composed under the impact of the European Jewish catastrophe. It was followed by the volume of poems Baym Fus Fun Barg ("At the Foot of the Mountain," 1957), in which he again emphasized his opposition both to abstract poetry stripped of emotional content and to poetry as the expression of untamed feeling devoid of intellectual content. He held that poetry must always be concrete, the direct or indirect expression of a real experience, in which thought and feeling were intertwined. In the lyrics of Amerike un Ikh ("America and I," 1963), he voiced his faith in the historical ideals of the U.S. Of his experiments in poetic drama, only Shlomo Molkho (1926), which dealt with the conflict between the two messianic figures David *Reuveni and Solomon *Molcho, aroused significant interest. While Reuveni sought to redeem the Jewish people by force of arms and to restore them to a normal existence on their ancestral soil, Molcho, influenced by kabbalistic lore, wished the Jews to remain in the Diaspora and to become the self-sacrificing redeemers of all mankind. Through this 16th-century Marrano martyr, Glanz-Leyeles voiced the Territorialist philosophy with which he had been long associated. In a second drama, Asher Lemlen (1928), he dealt with the conflict between Jewish messianic longing and the reality of political and social life. A Hebrew translation of the two plays was made by Shimshon Melzer and a Hebrew rendering of selected poems by B. Ḥrushovski (Harshav; 1960), with a literary analysis by Dov Sadan; Harshav also translated his verse into English (American-Yiddish Poetry, 1986). Glanz-Leyeles translated works from English, Russian, and Polish into Yiddish, most notably the works of Edgar Allen Poe. In the volume Velt un Vort ("World and Word," 1958), Glanz-Leyeles collected the best of his important essays on poets, novelists, and memoirists. In his criticism, he maintained that a critic should call attention to the way in which a work enriched literature rather than to its failings. In his 75th year, he visited Israel for the first time and was stimulated to a new burst of lyric creativity.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 255–8; lnyl, 5 (1963), 330–8: N.B. Minkoff, Literarishe Vegn (1955), 219–49; J. Glatstein, In Tokh Genumen, 1 (1947), 97–105, 295–302; 2 (1956), 291–6; S. Lestchinsky, Literarishe Eseyen (1955), 116–26; S. Bickel, Shrayber fun Mayn Dor (1958), 84–98; Waxman, Literature, 5 (1960), 93–5; Jewish Book Annual, 25 (1968), 116–22. add. bibliography: D. Sadan, in: Shirim ve-Ḥezyunot me-Et Aharon Gelants-Liles (1960), 9–35.

[Sol Liptzin /

Anita Norich (2nd ed.)]

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