When Translation is Not a Localization

S. Y. Agnon

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow recalls his first meeting with  S. Y. Agnon in his preface to Great Jewish Stories (1969):

While we were drinking tea, this spare old man asked me if any of my books had been translated into Hebrew. If they had not been, I had better see to it immediately, because, he said, they would survive only in the Holy Tongue. His advice I assumed was only half serious. This was his witty way of calling my attention to a curious situation. I cited Heinrich Heine as an example of a poet who has done rather well in German.  “Ah,” said Mr. Agnon, “we have him beautifully translated into Hebrew. He is safe.”


~ by matt on 13 December 2009.

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