Page 72 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
58
the novel
The Bridal Canopy
(N.Y., Literary Guild, 1937), which
paints a folk portrait of small town hasidic life in Galicia. In
his introduction, the translator, I. M. Lask, dwells on the dif-
ficulties of rendering into English the studied and ornate style
of this master of Hebrew prose. Although here and there some
of Agnon’s nuances eluded him, on the whole the translation
reads well.
We are also indebted to Lask for his translation of Agnon’s
novelette
In the Hear t of the Seas
(N.Y., Schocken Books, 1948),
which deals with the pilgrimage of a group of 19th-century
Polish Hasidim to Palestine. The story, which breathes love
of the land and is replete with symbolic overtones, reveals Agnon
as a master weaver of the folk tale. Agnon has also been presented
to English readers through his High Holyday anthology
Days
of Awe
(N.Y., Schocken Books, 1948), translated by Maurice T.
Galpert and revised by Jacob Sloan, and through short stories
in various anthologies.
Of particular beauty is Agnon’s story “Tehilla”, which opens
the volume
Tehi l la and Other Israeli Tales.
In addition to this
version by Lask we find another translation of the same tale by
Walter Lever in
Israel Argosy 4
(Jerusalem, Youth and Hechalutz
Department of the Zionist Organization, 1956; N.Y., Yoseloff,
1956). One is tempted to dwell on the symbolism of this tale
about an old Jerusalem woman who seeks atonement for breaking
her betrothal vows in her youth at the insistence of her father.
Elsewhere in this volume, however, an article appears which
subjects Agnon’s writings to critical analysis. Agnon is also
the author of the story from which the recent collection of short
stories in translation,
A Whole Loaf
(Tel Aviv, Karni, 1957),
edited by Sholom J. Kahn, has taken its name. To this Kaf-
kaesque story, translated here by Lask, our editor has added a
short note on its probable allegorical significance. The same
collection brings us still another story by Agnon, entitled
Meta-
morphosis,
a tale of divorce and reconciliation, in the translation
of I. Schen.
It is thus evident that a good beginning has been made so
far as the translation of Agnon is concerned. There is still
room, however, for translations of his other novels, particularly
T ’mol Shilshom
(Days Gone By), which deals with the second
aliya, and for a volume of his collected short stories.
Works of Hay im Hazaz
Although the various published samples of the work of Hayim
Hazaz, who last year celebrated his 60th birthday, revealed him
as a fine craftsman, it was not until the appearance of
Mor i Sa’id
(N.Y., Abelard-Schuman, 1956) that he became known as a
major novelist. The novel, translated by Ben Halpern, presents
three generations in the life of a Yemenite family and chronicles