Manne, Mordecai Ẓevi

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MANNE, MORDECAI ẒEVI (1859–1886), Hebrew lyric poet and artist. Born near Vilna, he was sent at the age of 13 to study at yeshivot in Minsk. After his talent for painting was discovered he went to Vilna and enrolled at its school of art. He taught himself Russian and general studies, and wrote his first poems, lyrical studies of nature. In 1880 he was accepted as a student at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. On the recommendation of A. *Zederbaum, Manne's studies were subsidized by A. Kaufman, a wealthy communal leader, and he served as his Hebrew secretary. He contributed poems and articles to Ha-Meliẓ and Ha-Ẓefirah under the pen name Ha-Meẓayyer ("the painter"; also Heb. acronym of – M ordecai Z eviyel id R adoshkewitz). In 1884 he went to Warsaw and contributed to Nahum *Sokolow's Ha-Asif and S.P. *Rabbinowitz' Keneset Yisrael, designing the covers of both anthologies. A victim of tuberculosis, his health deteriorated after 1884. At the end of his life he wrote a popular poem, Masat Nafshi, wherein he expressed his longing for Palestine. Only some of his poems and articles were published during his lifetime; his collected works appeared after his death, edited by his friend A.L. Schoenhaus (1897).

Manne's poetry displays an individual lyricism, and he is at his best in descriptions of nature, in which his talents as writer and painter fuse. His poems are clearly influenced by the classical Russian and German poetry which he translated extensively. In his critical articles he wrote that "the poem and the poetic phrase have no purpose outside themselves, they are in themselves a purpose." Manne dreamed of "artists who loved their people and their religion," and who would devote themselves to depicting the beauty, the sacred values, and the history of Israel. A list of his works translated into English appears in Goell, Bibliography, p. 34.


Kol Kitvei Manne (1897), preface by Schoenhaus; J. Klausner, Yoẓerim u-Vonim, 1 (1944), 258–72; H. Toren, in: Moznayim, 22 (1946), 18–26, 97, 101, 156–63, incl. bibl.; Waxman, Literature, 4 (19602), 207–10. add. bibliography: A. Holtzman, "M.Z. Manne, Ha-Meshorer ke-Ẓayyar," in: Mahut 11 (1994), 68–93; idem, "Temurot be-Ma'amadah shel ha-Omanut ha-Plastit be-Maḥshevet ha-Sifrut ha-Ivrit," in: Tarbiẓ, 63, 4 (1994), 557–596.

[Yehuda Slutsky]