Page 72 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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a b r ie f qualification: “He studied only in o rd e r to fashion a seat
fo r the Divine Presence, fo r the glory o f God .”5
Haim Hazaz’ novel,
Gates of Bronze,
focuses on the d isin tegra­
tion o f the shtetl u n d e r the impact o f the Russian Revolution.6 In
his prefa to ry note, the transla to r wisely warns the read e r abou t
translation difficulties by indicating the host o f tones, images,
allusions, ideas, and Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish words tha t
are lost in translation. T he classical idiom is no t the only problem
and this is already app a ren t from the open ing lines o f the novel:
I t was no t the biggest town
nT«.y nrrn
in tha t pa r t o f Russia and it
r r m ’aa x'rx nattj?
was no t the smallest. Mokry-
pa n&XtfiXtt ,n n
Kut was an ord inary shtetl,
- ^ r i Try .IS
QnSD1? n rw
h u d d le d between th e r iv e r
ni3m -,Tm <|,-p
na "ttp ’pJPJ
and the forest, su rrounded by
na tfVm
peasan t villages and fields.
Chmielnitski in his time had
passed th is way, an d la te r
G on te a n d his H a id am ak s
h a d com e a n d r e a p e d an
equally bloody harvest.
Aside from the fact tha t the above Hebrew selection is not a
representative one from
Brazen Gates,
which title was changed in
the English version to
Gates of Bronze,
the Hebrew text fails to
show Hazaz’ usual propensity fo r lengthy, convoluted sentences
with the involved syntax o f his distinctive style. T he English
translation nevertheless comes ou t quantitatively longer than the
original, th ree sentences to the original’s two. We find here the
usual strategem o f the Anglo-Saxon presence guiding the tran s­
la tor’s hand , dividing lengthy units into sho r ter and more trac ta­
ble segments. I f ever we needed to be assured o f this practice as a
technique, it should be sufficient to recall Thom as Mann in the
English version. His sentences remain relatively lengthy and in­
5 The doctrine of fashioning a seat for the Divine Presence “is hasidic and
originally Cabbalistic.” Arnold Band,
Nostalgia and Nightmare
(Univ. o f Calif.
Press, 1968), p. 138.
6 Haim Hazaz,
Gates of Bronze,
trans. S. Gershon Levi (Phila.: Jewish Publication
Society, 1975).