Modernist Hasidim (Martin Buber & Leonard Baskin)


006 007

I love these black ink drawings by Leonard Baskin gracing the white or cream cover of the first paperback editions of Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim: Early Masters and Tales of the Hasidim: Later Masters. Perfectly handsome volumes, they tells us a little something about the American reception history of Buber and Jewish philosophy. This is what Judaism was supposed to look like, the mystical tradition. I used to think the images were cloying, but I think I understand better now that Baskin knew what he was doing. The ink is brutal and delicate. The figures are very modern, very savage, a little Chinese. The red typeface is ultra crisp. The lips and the teeth frame the open mouth of a deep abyss. Published in paper in 1961, the books cost $1.65 each.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
This entry was posted in uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Modernist Hasidim (Martin Buber & Leonard Baskin)

  1. nitzan4747 says:

    The top one looks like a corpse.

Leave a Reply