February 19, 2008 The Task of the Hebrew Translator is Subject of March 26 Program
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
The challenge of translating Hebrew literature into English will be discussed by Nicholas de Lange and Yaacob Dweck. They will introduce and read excerpts from their recent translations of works of modern Hebrew literature at a program to be held at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, March 26 in the African and Middle Eastern Division Conference Room (Room 220), located in the Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E. Washington, D.C. Their readings will include works by S. Yizhar and Haim Sabato. S. Yizhar (pen name of Y. Smilanksy, 1916-2006) is considered by many critics to be the greatest contemporary Hebrew writer. His epic novel of the 1948 war, “Days of Ziklag” (1958), questions the rhetoric of Zionist Utopianism. After more than 30 years of silence as a writer, Yizhar found his voice again with the 1992 publication of “Mikdamot” (“Preliminaries”), the first of three autobiographical novels. This vivid evocation of the life of pioneering Zionist settlers in Palestine, told through the eyes of a child, is the first of his novels to be translated into English. Born in Egypt to a Jewish family from Aleppo, Syria, Haim Sabato emigrated to Jerusalem as a child. His most recent Hebrew novel, “Ke-af-ape shahar: ma-aseh be-Ezra Siman Tov” (“The Dawning of the Day: A Jerusalem Tale”), offers a nostalgic portrait of Syrian Jewish life in Jerusalem in the middle of the 20th century. Nicholas de Lange, professor of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Cambridge, has won numerous awards for his translations of works by Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, and other modern Hebrew writers. Yaacob Dweck is completing his doctoral dissertation in Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.