The Perils of Translation: Isaac Bashevis Singer in English and Hebrew

Ezra Mendelsohn

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XII: Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112030
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854608 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

The Perils of Translation: Isaac Bashevis Singer in English and Hebrew

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This chapter reviews the literary texts of Isaac Bashevis Singer, one of Yiddish literature's greatest figures and the winner of a Nobel prize, who died in Miami, Florida, in 1991. It examines two of his novels which appeared in English translation—The Certificate and Meshuga. These novels also appeared in Hebrew based on the English version. The Certificate deals with a well-known incident from the life of the author: the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to arrange a fictitious wedding with a young woman who possessed a certificate for immigration in Palestine. The second novel called Meshuga was first serialized in the pages of the Forward as Lost Souls, where it appears in the text itself. The story deals with a group of Polish Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, most of them from Warsaw, who live in New York in the early 1950s on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Keywords: Isaac Bashevis Singer; Yiddish literature; Nobel prize; The Certificate; Meshuga; English translation; Hebrew translation; Forward; Holocaust; Manhattan

Chapter.  3151 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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