Page 36 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 14

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them were originally written in Hebrew; others represent Hebrew
translations from other tongues. An original work of this kind is
Ari Ibn-Zahav’s Hebrew novel
The Jew of Venice
. Tel-Aviv, 1947). Where Ibn Zahav leaves off,
indeed where Shakespeare himself leaves off, Ludwig Lewisohn
continues. In his work
The Last Days of Shylock
which was translated by Reuben Grossman (Tel-Aviv, 1932), he
re-creates a measure of the Jewish atmosphere in which Shylock
presumably moved.
Moses Ben-Eliezer, who at the beginning of this century lived in
New York, where he edited
, a Hebrew monthly, under-
took in his later years, while residing in Israel, the translation from
English into Hebrew of Shakespearean stories for children. Among
his many publications in this field are two collections of Shake-
spearean tales for children (Jerusalem, 1927, and Tel-Aviv, 1948),
and tales of three plays,
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Winter s
The Tempest
(Tel-Aviv, 1954).
A bibliography of the Hebrew translations of Shakespeare’s
plays is appended to this paper. These translations are arranged
in the chronological order of their composition as presented in the
one-volume edition of
The Works oj William Shakespeare
printed for the Shakespeare Head Press and published by Oxford
University Press (New York, 1934). Obviously, no claim to
finality is made in a subject so beset with difficulties, but the
sequence may be taken as fairly representative of the general
results of recent research. The time-honored division of the poet’s
writings into
, dating from the
First Folio in 1623 and universally followed ever since, has been
abandoned here. I t seems more desirable that readers approach
the body of Shakespeare’s writings not as a static literary mon-
ument, but as a vital and growing organism revealing the evolution
of the poet’s personality and genius.
The present age is one of great expansion in good reading.
Though Hebrew readers possess a vast and rich literature entirely
their own, they are nevertheless eager to gain access to the best
in other literatures and to make them available in the language
they cherish. Their greatest literature, beginning with the Holy
Scriptures, was created in that language. They view with pride
the rise in the output of entertaining Hebrew works, both originals
and translations. Never before were Hebrew readers so free as
they are now to indulge in books for recreation. The enormous
increase in Hebrew publishing at the arrival of the second half of
the twentieth century indicates the enthusiastic response to the
new demand. In this renascent upsurge, Shakespeare’s works are
eliciting greater interest and attention, and the evidence appears