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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 350 Reviews For his part, Lewis can reciprocally rely on Zangwill. Thus there is a complicated echo among these translations, each of which bequeaths its imprint to its successor. That imprint is also the record of the translator's personal meeting with the Hebrew poet and his work. So do we need another translation of the Keter Malkhut? Well, why not? It would be easy to quibble with Slavitt for his wording here and there. More seriously, he has sent a difficult text into the world with few references to the world from which she came, let alone her indebtedness to previous sponsors. Nonetheless, Slavitt's rendition is overall a pleasant "read." The Keter Malkhut has moments of strange and wonderful kind of poetry. All three translations testify in some way to its marvels, even as they grope along the path to the royal palace of their source. To paraphrase Ibn Gabirol, some translations will be like blind men on this journey, while some stride unwaveringly to their goal. Still, for those who respect the miracle of translation, "it is all the same mystery, and if they each have different names, they all go to one place." (Keter Malkhut, section III.) By 2040, we will be ready for a new companion on the road. Susan Einbinder Hebrew Union College Cincinnati, OH 48220 seinbinder@huc.edu DECADENT TRENDS IN HEBREW LITERATURE: BIALIK, BERDYCHEVSKI, BRENER [BRENNER]. By Hamutal Bar-Yosef. pp. 416. Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1997. The subject of Decadence is timely for both Israeli and American culture. The acclaimed feature film "Eyes Wide Shut" has reminded Americans of Arthur Schnitzler's Vienna and of the role Jews played in the depiction of the darkness in the lives of twentieth century urban dwellers-living in apparent light but seeking secret places in which to avoid the glare. The re-emergence of Sigmund Freud in current discourse further enlivens our interest in decadence, and three prominent museum exhibits of Freud's life have enriched that discourse. Additional attention to decadent theme and personality-and the moral contrast with the hypocrisies of mainstream social values-became prominent subjects in two movies and a wildly successful play about the life and trial of Oscar Wilde. Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 351 Reviews Israelis, for their part, are experiencing a renewed soul searching about their own cultural environment and about the role of "classic" scribes in adding unconventional themes to the canon of Hebrew fiction and poetry. Thus, Hamutal Bar-Yosef's book on Bialik, Berdyczewski, and Brenner and their relationship to decadence brings together two ostensibly disparate worlds which she links with both dexterity and first rate scholarship. Her book could be the ideal study for Israeli-American discourse-a discourse which too rarely engages intellectuals with shared concerns. (The problem of readership even for the Hebrew literate is another issue.) Historically, of course, Wilde and the trend known as Decadence had considerable importance for Hebrew literature, and Wilde's work was translated surprisingly early within the Yishuv's translation industry. For some readers, attention to the indulgent denizens of urban environments and the fascination with bourgeois arrangements remains a surprising little comer of the early Zionist movement which based itself on optimistic social programs and which attached itself to values which-though not "transcendant" theologically--certainly were understood to transcend (in the sense of over-ride) the pressure of quotidien life. Wilde's appearance on the Zionist scene is, on the other-hand, no more surprising than his appearance among the Colorado miners or Iowa farmers he addressed on his legendary visit to America in the early 1880s. But Wilde-inspired "decadence" is only one perspective on this wide ranging trend of the eady twentieth century. Bar Yosef describes an array of elements that found their way in one degree or another into the works of modem Hebrew's remarkable literary triad. Her four hundred plus page book peers into almost every aspect of decadence in the three writers and she traces sources of influence-its methods and its themes--challenging earlier critics to re-examine the significance of the works these three writers must have read. Because Bialik has not...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 350-353
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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