Zeitschrift für deutsch - jüdische Literatur und Kulturgeschichte (Journal of German - Jewish Literature and Culture History)
Ed. by Pollock, Benjamin / Weidner, Daniel / Wiese, Christian
Arie Ludwig Strauss: “A Psalm Returns Home”
This is an attempt to describe the bi-lingual poet Arie Ludwig Strauss’s journey from his poetry in German to his Hebrew poetry. Steeped as he was in the German poetic tradition, from Old Germanic Stabreim to Hölderlin and particularly Stefan George, and preoccupied with the phonetic, musical aspects of verse, Strauss was determined, on discovering his Hebrew heritage, to apply George’s sound devices to the Hebrew poems he began writing after his immigration to Palestine. This paper focuses on Strauss’s struggle to find a Hebrew parallel to the music of his German verse. It argues that the tonality of his Hebrew poetry is a product of two traditions: a phonological orchestration of syllables, derived largely from George, and wordplay involving whole words rather than only syllables, derived from biblical Hebrew and the Hebrew of medieval Judeo-Spanish poetry.