Page 77 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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63
K
a b ak o f f
— I
srael i
L
iterature
in
E
ngl i sh
through the problems of adjustment to the land, has permitted
us to share his experiences. While not abounding in action, his
stories probe the inner workings of their characters and describe
various types, particularly settlement workers.
Perhaps the finest contribution of the
Israel Argosy
volumes
to translation has been in the field of the short story. Among
its stories of lasting value special mention should be made of
Yossy's Fiddle
(Volume 5, 1957), by Mordecai Tabib, in which
a Yemenite mother poignantly recounts the story of the life
of her fallen son, and
The Swimming Race
(Volume 2, 1953),
by Binyamin Tammuz, a member of the younger school of writers
who delves searchingly into the problem of Arab-Jewish relations.
Poetry Translations
One need not elaborate the problems of translating Hebrew
poetry. In addition to the usual pitfalls awaiting the translator
of verse, there is in Hebrew the additional factor of conveying
the nuances of an old-new language. The new Israeli poetry has
undergone much development. True, it still bears the influences
of Bialik and particularly of Tchernichowsky, but more often
than not it reveals a tendency to modernism and is less senti-
mental than the poetry of a generation ago. It is in poetry that
Hebrew literature has most distinguished itself, and the challenge
of transmitting this poetry to the English reader must be taken up.
While it does not quite meet the need of an anthology of
Hebrew poetry,
A Treasury of Jewish Poetry
(N.Y., Crown, 1957),
edited by Nathan and Marynn Ausubel, contains a fairly wide
selection of verse by contemporary Hebrew poets. The work of
several of the younger poets, like Binyamin Galai, Zerubavel
Gal’ed and David Rokeach, appears for the first time between
the covers of an English book. Even though the anthology omits
a number of important poets (the most glaring omission is that
of S. Shalom) and offers sparse representation to others, it does
impart some idea of the continuity of Hebrew poetry and its
new forms. A number of translations from modern Hebrew poets
are to be found also in Schwarz'
A Golden Treasury.
A general anthology which has given generous space to Hebrew
poetry is
A L i t t le Treasury of Wor ld Poetry
(N.Y., Scribners,
1952), edited by Hubert Creekmore. In addition to selections
from biblical and medieval Hebrew poetry and from Bialik and
Tchernichowsky, we find represented here the poets Jacob Fich-
man, Avigdor Hameiri, Rachel and Nathan Alterman.
Various sources have already drawn upon Simon Halkin’s
sensitive renderings from Israeli poets in his
Modern Hebrew
Li terature
(N.Y., Schocken Books, 1947). These translations
virtually make up a small anthology. A number of illustrative
translations, some original and some culled from other sources,
are to be found also in Reuben Wallenrod’s
The Li terature of