Page 76 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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Polish capital before the grand debacle.4 Tantalizing incom-
pleteness characterizes his entire work. Yet he charted new vistas
for his contemporaries and for his successors. Not only were
native themes cultivated after him by most Hebrew poets in
America, but historical personages and periods were brilliantly ex-
ploited—especially by the eminent playwright and novelist Harry
Sackler. And if the entire Shakespeare has not yet found his
Hebrew translator, most of his plays and poems have been
hebraized. And “Hamlet” has had four different Hebrew trans-
lators: Bornstein, Davidowitz, Efros and Shlonsky.
Rosenzweig and Silkiner may be regarded as the progenitors
of Hebrew literature in America. What preceded them was either
mediocre or macabre—an occasional effusion in florid poetry, an
occasional commentary on a biblical book or talmudic treatise, a
well-turned epitaph on the tombstone of a leader. What succeeded
them was one of the manifold miracles of Jewish history: a half-
century of growth and flowering of Hebrew letters in America.
4 Tschernichowsky’s translation of “Macbeth’5 is more faithful to the
original— in form and in spirit. A comparative study of both translations
might yield interesting insights into the art of translation and, incidentally,
into the mind of the translators.