AS IT WAS WRITTEN A JEWISH MUSICIAN'S STORY by Sidney Luska [pseudonym]. Henry Harland, "Sidney Luska."

AS IT WAS WRITTEN A JEWISH MUSICIAN'S STORY by Sidney Luska [pseudonym]. New York: Cassell & Company, Limited, 739 & 741 Broadway, [1885]. Octavo, pp. [1-4] [1] 2-253 [254-256: blank], original pictorial brown cloth, front panel stamped in black and silver, spine panel stamped in silver and gold, white endpapers with floral pattern printed in light green. First edition. The author's first novel, a lurid thriller in which a cursed New York musician kills his fiancée. "A fairly well written short novel of the supernatural with lots of insights into Jewish culture. Ernest Neuman, the narrator, learns by way of letter written to him by his father who died shortly after his birth, that he comes from a family whose sons are cursed to always be betrayed by their wives if they choose to ever marry. His father married and his wife had an affair with his closest friend, Nicholas Patzuoul. Neuman, who believes himself to be innocent of the murder of his fiancée Veronika, discovers that he has been possessed by his father's spirit in order to murder Nicholas or his surviving next of kin, which turns out to be Veronika. Neuman writes his confession, and then commits suicide" (Boyd White). According to Historian Harold Brackman "Sidney Luska was the ethnic pseudonym of native-born Protestant Henry Harland, who wrote romances of German-Jewish life in America. Born in Brooklyn, the son of a successful New York lawyer, Harland was educated at the City College of New York and Harvard Divinity School. He had to hold down a tedious day job while writing fiction at night. He believed that writers who were 'old stock' Americans like himself were being ignored in favor of authors of 'ethnic fiction.' His solution: the 'Sidney Luska' appellation, which he used in fiction with melodramatic Jewish characters and plots ... His first novel, AS IT WAS WRITTEN A JEWISH MUSICIAN'S STORY (1885), sold 50,000 copies. According to historian Louise Mayo, 'It is fair to say that ‘Sidney Luska’ created the Jewish American novel and novelist.' To gather material, Harlan joined Felix Adler’s Ethical Culture Society. He wrote that 'for the last six years I have circulated almost exclusively among the Jews, and have thus become all but a Jew myself.' AS IT WAS WRITTEN was well-received by Jewish reviewers and readers, but his second novel, THE YOKE OF THE THORAH (1887), was not ... After 1890, Harland buried 'Sidney Luska.' He began writing under his real name, expatriated to England, and converted to Catholicism. He also became editor of THE YELLOW BOOK ... Though forgotten, Harland paved the way for journalists like Hutchins Hapgood, whose THE SPIRIT OF THE GHETTO (1902) admirably pictured the Jewish writers and artists who frequented the Lower East Side’s Bohemian cafes. Not until Abraham Cahan’s THE RISE OF DAVID LEVINSKY (1917) were there serious novels written by Jews about Jews." Bleiler (1978), p. 127. Reginald 09332. Wright (III) 2460. Spine lean, cloth worn at spine ends and corners, a very good copy. (#167343).

Price: $100.00

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