September 6th, 2001

English classics in old Hebrew translations

While working on The Ben-Yehuda Project [Hebrew!], I have come across a wonderful translation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet into Hebrew, published in Vienna, 1878. The translator is identified only by his initials, and by attribution of another work to him. The other work is called ויגרש את האדם, which means "So he drove out the man" from Genesis 3:24.

Now, I'd really like to know the full name of that translator. I hope I can get to it via this reference. The problem is I don't know anything about that work -- its name suggests it is perhaps a religious work, but I have an idea it may be a (liberal) translation of the title of John Milton's Paradise Lost, so that perhaps the work is a translation of Milton's masterpiece. This is perhaps even more likely than the work being religious, as the man is a translator...

But I wonder how I can find out for sure. I guess I'll have to trudge on to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (gasp! research without a keyboard?!) and pore over catalogs and lists of books published in 19th century Viennese Jewish circles...

Update: A friend ( kindly searched the Hebrew University library (through the internet, actually, quipping "research without a keyboard my foot!"), and found the book! It actually is a translation of John Milton's Paradise Lost into Hebrew! I'm absolutely ecstatic! My friend will get me the book from the library. Bliss!
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