REGELSON, ABRAHAM


REGELSON, ABRAHAM (1896–1981), Hebrew poet. Born near Minsk, Regelson arrived in the United States as a boy of nine. Though his formal education was not extensive, he read voluminously and acquired substantial knowledge in poetry and philosophy. He began to publish poems immediately after World War I. Although mainly a poet, he also wrote philosophical essays and satirical sketches, and translated from English into Hebrew, and from Hebrew and Yiddish into English. During his stay in Ereẓ Israel in 1933–36, he wrote a regular column for Davar and contributed occasionally to Davar li-Yladim. The latter contributions were published in a book of children's stories Massa ha-Bubbot le-Ereẓ Yisrael (1936; 1954). Ein ha-Sus (1967), another book for children, is a paraphrase of Greek legends. When he settled permanently in Israel in 1949, he worked for various newspapers and, sporadically, at the publishing house Am Oved. All of his collections of poetry are assembled in Ḥakukot Otiyyotayikh (1964) which includes translations of American, English, and Yiddish poetry. Influenced by Robert Browning, Regelson developed his own form of dramatic monologue in poetry. His philosophical aperçus were often given expression in longer poems in the form of poetic Midrashim. His most ambitious poem, "Cain and Abel," depicts struggling opposites: the man of action and the thinker who is poisoned by a sense of vanity of all things. The title poem of his collected works, "Ḥakukot Otiyyotayikh" (Ha-Tekufah, 30/31 (1945/46), 271–86), is an ecstatic hymn to the Hebrew language.

Regelson's prose appeared in three volumes: Melo ha-Tallit Alim (1941), Sham ha-Bedolaḥ (1942), and Erelei ha-Maḥashavah (1969). The last and most important of the three is both a critical evaluation of some contemporary philosophies and past philosophers and a repository of Regelson's own thought. His translations into Hebrew include stories by Kipling (1935), Melville's Billy Budd (1950); into English Glanz' Yiddish poems, M. Maisels' philosophical work Maḥashavah ve-Emet (in an abridged version, under the title Thought and Truth (1956),) and Jacob Klatzkin's philosophical essays, In Praise of Wisdom (1943). While in New York, he also edited a small literary and philosophical review, Rivon Katan (1944), of which only two issues appeared.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

A. Epstein, Soferim Ivrim ba-Amerikah, 1 (1952), 142–71; S.Y. Penueli, Ḥulyot ba-Sifrut ha-Ivrit ha-Ḥadashah (1953), 54–60; M. Ribalow, Ketavim u-Megillot (1942), 217–21; Hemshekh (Yid., 1945), 412–9 (biographical list); E. Silberschlag, in: O.I. Janowsky (ed.), The American Jew: A Reappraisal (1964). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Etiemble, "Le sonnet des voyelles en hébreu moderne," in: Humanisme actif, 1 (1968), 137–42; D. Rudavsky, "A. Regelson: A Reflective Hebrew Poet," in: Hebrew Studies, 18 (1977), 91–104; A.J. Band, "Regelson, Pagis, Wallach: Three Poems on the Hebrew Language," in: Z. Zevit, S. Gitlin (eds.), Solving Riddles and Untying Knots (1995), 505–22.

[Eisig Silberschlag]


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