Abstract

In 1936 – 37, A. M. Klein, the distinguished Montreal Jewish poet, translated into English thirteen of Bialik's poems, including "Be'ir hahareigah." Some twenty years later, during 1953 – 55, Klein retranslated four of the poems that he had translated in the 1930s, including part of "Be'ir hahareigah," as well as translated for the first time Bialik's poem "Kokhavim metsitsim vekhavim."

This essay first accounts for the differences in style between Klein's 1930s translations and the revised 1950s translations and for the general superiority of the latter over the former by examining the shift in poetics that is manifest in Klein's writing of original poetry. It then shows that Klein's revised translation of "Be'ir hahareigah" is an exception to this general superiority, suffering from exaggerated, strained, and fervid diction and an overly jagged, splintered, and fragmented style untrue to the original, and suggests that these flaws may result from an attempt on the part of Klein to rewrite "Be'ir hahareigah" as a Holocaust poem. Finally, it suggests — to be sure, speculatively — that the reason Klein never completed that revised translation is that at some point he realized that his post-Holocaust audience was not emotionally ready for the poem's indictment of the victims of Kishinev for their cowardice, passivity, and non-resistance — particularly since it would likely view the poem by extension as an attack on the victims of the Holocaust.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 128-152
Launched on MUSE
2006-01-31
Open Access
No
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