Monday, November 15, 2010

Project Ben Yehuda

Question: I would like to research the development of the modern Hebrew language, as seen through translations of world literature into Hebrew. Unfortunately I am not located near a research library with Hebrew books. Can you help me access these texts.

Answer: You could start your research with the Translations section of Project Ben Yehuda. This website is a collection of early modern Hebrew writings, including fiction, essays, poetry, drama and translations.

It includes Hebrew translations of worldwide authors such as Homer, Schiller, Heine, Byron, Rudyard Kipling, Pushkin, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, and others.

Most of the texts on Project Ben Yehuda are no longer under copyright; those still under copyright have been made available with permission from the copyright holder. In Israel copyright extends 70 years after the death of the author.

A serious study on the translation of world literature into Hebrew would require that you consult Jewish Translation History: A Bibliography of Bibliographies and Studies, by Robert Singerman (2002) REF Z 6514 J48 J49 2002. This comprehensive work will refer you to both lists of translations, and to studies about translation. Chapter 5 "Translations into Hebrew, 1850-2000" will be particularly relevant. This books is available in over 150 libraries throughout the world; you can identify the closest location by using

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