Woyslawski, Zevi

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WOYSLAWSKI, ZEVI (1889–1957), Hebrew writer and critic. Woyslawski studied at the Odessa yeshivah, at the Oriental Studies Academy founded by Baron Guenzburg in St. Petersburg, and at Odessa University. His literary career began in 1918 in *Ha-Shilo'ah. Three years later he left Russia as one of the group of writers headed by *Bialik and settled in Berlin. There he contributed to the periodical Haolam and edited the publication Atidenu (1923–24). He emigrated to Palestine in 1934 and played a prominent role in literary life: as a member of the Central Committee of the *Writers' Association, editor of its literary journal Moznayim (1942–47), chairman of the Israel branch of pen, and a member of the Hebrew Language Academy. In his philosophical writings, Woyslawski examined the essence of recent Jewish culture against the background of European culture. His main contribution to the study of Hebrew literary criticism was the introduction of the socio-cultural method of analysis. He wrote Yeḥidim bi-Reshut ha-Rabbim on the Jews in European culture (1956), and translated Shemaryahu *Levin's autobiography into Hebrew, as well as works by Hermann Cohen, Martin Buber, Schopenhauer, Freud, and other philosophers. Woyslawski felt that the test of the Hebrew language was its ability to convey other cultures, a strength that he displayed in his translations.

His books include Eruvei Rashuyyot (1944); Ḥevlei Tarbut (1946), a sociological study of national and linguistic problems; Be-Mazzal Ma'adim (1952); Al ha-Miẓpeh (1959); Orot ba-Derekh (1960); Ha-Roman ve-ha-Novellah be-Sifrut ha-Me'ah ha-Tesha Esreh (1961); Mishnat Zimmel al Ru'aḥ ha-Rekhushanut (1966).


S. Halkin, Modern Hebrew Literature (1950), 167; G. Elkoshi, Naḥalat Ẓevi (1966), bibliography of his works: Atteret Ẓevi: ha-Ish ve-Haguto (1962).

[Efraim Shmueli]