This lecture analyzes Dovid Knut’s literary heritage in the context of 20th-century Russian-Jewish poetry and inter-war Russian émigré culture. It describes different stages of Knut’s literary career and examines several of his most representative lyrical poems. Among the subjects to be discussed are: Dovid Knut and Zionism; his contacts with the Zionist-Revisionist circles (V. Jabotinsky, I. Schechtman, M. Berchin, etc.); Knut’s contributions to the Paris weekly Rassvet [Dawn]; his first visit to Palestine (1937) and his poems about it; and Knut and Ariadna Skriabina’s editorship of the weekly Affirmation. The talk will analyze Dovid Knut’s role in the Jewish Resistance in France during the Second World War and his hitherto unpublished writings about his involvement in this movement. The last section of the paper will discuss Knut’s life in Israel (1949–1955), his literary endeavors in the new historic-social conditions, and his relationships with Israeli poets and writers.
Professor Vladimir Khazan teaches at the Department of German, Russian, and East European Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a foremost authority in 20th-century Russian-Jewish and Russian-Israeli literary and cultural relationships. He published the Collected Works of the Russian-Jewish Poet Dovid Knut (1997-1998) and published Knut’s biography in 2000. Khazan also edited multi-volume annotated collections of other 20th-century Russian émigré poets and writers of Jewish descent (Semen Lutskii, Mikhail Tsetlin, Osip Dymov, Aleksandr Ginger, Sof’ia Pregel’) and wrote the monographs on the Russian revolutionary and Zionist leader Pinkhas Rutenberg and the early Soviet writer Andrei Sobol’.