Los Angeles, California: Max Cohn, 1910. First Edition. Hardcover. 8vo. Red cloth-over-boards, with gilt lettering to front. Rebacked in deep-red Niger Morocco (small-grained goatskin leather), ruled in gilt, with 5 raised bands, and dual contrasting spine labels. Head and tail untrimmed. Offsetting to endpapers, small edge-tears and occasional spotting to preliminary pages. A strange and scarce compendium of little-known Jewish mystical lore. Very Good. Item #71846
Chapter headings include: I: A History of Mysticism - The Mahatmas of The Essenes; II: The Wonder of the Original Mahatmas; III: Tales of Rabba Bar Barchana; IV: Ghost Stories of an Unknown Mahatma; V: Titus (Unkelos The Proselyte); VI: The Miserere; VII: Rabbi Ishmael; VIII: Spanish Spoilation, Or The Grand Inquisition; IX: French Frivolity; X: Jewish Trials in Germany; XI: Education and Talmud. This strange and scarce little book is packed withmystical legends, lore, tales and commentary of Jewish leaders, mystics, saints and luminaries, written in a lively, conversational tone.
Despite his great breadth of religious, historical and folk-related knowledge, Imber detested all forms of high-minded intellectual snobbery. Indeed his reputation was more of akin to a hard-traveling street person with mystical leanings -- essentially a charming, wandering poet-scholar whose restlessness took him throughout the east and Europe. Imber wrote the now-famous "HATIKVAH", described on title page as "The National Zionist song in Hebrew", but which has since become the national anthem for the State of Israel. He lived out his final years in America in dissipation and poverty, eventually dying of ailments related to his chronic alcoholism.