Yiddish Translation Matters
Although only 2-3% of Yiddish literature has been translated into English, some poems and stories have been translated many times. This talk asks why and analyzes what these variant translations tell us about changes in the status of Yiddish, about Jewish American cultural transformations, and about translation itself.
Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman and Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yentl have been translated not only from Yiddish to English but also from text to screen. Poems and stories by Y.L. Peretz, Yankev Glatshteyn, Kadya Molodovsky, Anna Margolin and others have been translated and transformed many times. We’ll look at some of these and consider what they reveal about the odd combination of a growing Jewish American cultural assertiveness and the growing conservatism of that culture. Nostalgic and anti-nostalgic views of Yiddish figure prominently in this analysis, as do late-twentieth-century translation theories and practices, and developments in Jewish ethnic identity in America. What are the challenges of rendering a Jewish language—steeped in Jewish ritual and emerging from a multilingual community—into English?
Shabbos shmues (conversation) with Anita Norich
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Lowell Center, lower lounge
610 Langdon Street
Join Yiddish scholar and author Anita Norich for an animated shabbos afternoon conversation. Together with Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture director Henry Sapoznik, Anita will discuss her upbringing as a child of Holocaust survivors and how it framed her award winning career, her passion for the Yiddish language, and its future in an ever changing multicultural world.
All events are free and open to the public. No prior knowledge of Yiddish language or culture is necessary.
Anita Norich is the Tikva Frymer-Kensky Collegiate Professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Writing in Tongues: Yiddish Translation in the Twentieth Century (University of Washington Press, 2013); Discovering Exile: Yiddish and Jewish American Literature in America During the Holocaust (Stanford, 2007); and The Homeless Imagination in the Fiction of Israel Joshua Singer (Indiana University Press, 1991). She has also co-edited Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literatures (Harvard and JTS, 1992) and Jewish Literatures and Cultures: Context and Intertext (Brown, 2008). She teaches, lectures, and publishes on a range of topics concerning Yiddish language and literature, modern Jewish culture, Jewish American literature, and Holocaust literature.