Ludwig Lewisohn

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Ludwig Lewisohn (May 30, 1882 – December 31, 1955)[1][2] was an outspoken critic of American Jewish assimilation, novelist and translator, known for his novel The Island Within. He wrote several autobiographies, translated German literature and wrote the preface to the first English language edition of Otto Rank's seminal work Art and Artist. Lewisohn also authored the book The Poets of Modern France, a translation of major French poets into English. At the time this book was published he was said to be "Professor at the Ohio State University." He also authored several works on Judaica and Zionism.


Lewisohn was born in Berlin, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1890 with his parents. The family settled in Charleston, South Carolina. Though his mother was the daughter of a rabbi, the family converted to Christianity. In his youth, Lewisohn was an active Methodist. After graduating with honors from the College of Charleston, he went to Columbia University in 1902 to work on a doctorate. He received the degree of A.M. in 1903. In 1904 he was told by his advisers that a Jew would never be hired to teach English literature at an American university. The bitter irony in this advice led Lewisohn to return to Judaism and he became an outspoken critic of American Jewish assimilation. In 1948 Lewisohn was among the founding faculty members of Brandeis University, where he taught until his death.

It was Lewisohn who first translated Franz Werfel's The Song of Bernadette into English.

Lewisohn died in 1955, at the age of 73, in Miami Beach, Florida.[2]


  • The Island Within (1928)
  • Up Stream (1922)
  • The Creative Life (1924)
  • Israel (1925)
  • The Case of Mr. Crump (1926)
  • Expression in America (1931)
  • The Last Days of Shylock (1931) Illustrated by Arthur Szyk
  • Trumpet of Jubilee (1937)
  • Rebirth (1935)
  • The Broken Snare (1908)
  • A Night in Alexandria (1909)
  • German Style, An Introduction to the Study of German Prose (1910)
  • The Modern Drama (New York, 1914)
  • Rebirth, A Book of Modern Jewish Thought (New York, 1935)
  • Renegade (1942)


  1. ^ Melnick, Ralph (1998). The Life and Work of Ludwig Lewisohn. Volume I: "A Touch of Wildness". Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-8143-2692-7. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Melnick, Ralph (1998). The Life and Work of Ludwig Lewisohn. Volume II: "This Dark and Desperate Age". Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press. p. 523. ISBN 0-8143-2765-6. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 


  • Lainoff, S. Ludwig Lewisohn. Boston, MA: Twayne Publishers, 1982.
  • Melnick, R. The Life and Work of Ludwig Lewisohn. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1998.

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