Page 79 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 17 (1958-1959)

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BIALIK’S WORKS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
HIS bibliography of the works of Hayyim Nahman Bialik,
the celebrated Hebrew poet, is offered on the occasion of
the 25th anniversary of his passing. Few bibliographies can be
exhaustive and the present one has made no attempt to be
complete.
By and large, we have been guided by the principle of avail­
ability. In the case of periodicals, items have been omitted from
several published in England and Israel, since these periodicals
are generally not found in any American library. Moreover, we
have not indicated the source of translations that appeared orig­
inally in periodicals if they were subsequently included in col­
lections or anthologies. Nor have we listed any items that have
been reprinted in periodicals or translations that appear in the
standard works on modern Hebrew literature and in special
articles on Bialik. In the case of anthologies, we have noted the
latest editions. Unless otherwise indicated, the various translations
we have listed are those of poems.
Maurice Samuel’s concluding note to his translation of
The
Mathmid
(in
New Palestine,
Hebrew University Issue, March 27,
1925) epitomizes the difficulty of rendering Bialik’s poetry into
any other language. Samuel commented on his rendition as fol­
lows: “I am conscious of the disastrous difference between the
translation and the original.” Many of Bialik’s translators, be­
cause of their slavish adherence to literalness, have failed to
convey the poet’s imagery and forcefulness. However, translators
like Maurice Samuel, Helena Frank and Abraham M. Klein,
among others, who have sought to capture the spirit of the
original and to interpret it, have been eminently more successful.
While it is the dictum of many that poetry cannot be trans­
lated, we can still be guided by Goethe’s statement that “a good
translation takes us a very long way.” We have much to learn
from Bialik, even through the veil of translation.
Bialik has been the most translated author in modern Hebrew
literature. His writings have been partially rendered into some
25 languages, and representative collections of his works have
appeared in at least six tongues. In addition to English, books
containing his writings have appeared in Russian, German,
A
B
ib l io g r a ph y
By J
acob
K
a ba k o f f
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