toldot, Volume 9 (2010)

Yfaat Weiss:

Lea Goldberg.

Lehrjahre in Deutschland 1930–1933

 

Translated from Hebrew by Liliane Meilinger. 

With a foreword by Dan Diner

 

191 pp. with 1 illustration, paperback
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010
ISBN 978-3-525-35099-7
Price: 28,00 € (D)

 

 

 

 

 

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Lea Goldberg is considered an iconic figure in literature in Israel, yet outside the boundaries of the Hebrew language she is virtually unknown. Her reputation is based principally on her poems, but she also influenced Israeli culture by means of her numerous translations into Hebrew. Despite considerable interest in Israeli literature in Germany, the only German translations published to date of her work are some poems translated by Arie Ludwig Strauss in the early 1960s and her first novel Briefe von einer imaginären Reise (Letters from an Imaginary Journey [Frankfurt a. M. 2003]).

 

Less known than Goldberg's poetry and children's books was her work in prose. It is distinctively autobiographical in many features. Three prose works she wrote from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s refer to her years as a student in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic. This volume of focuses on her experiences in Germany. It explores the importance of those years for her work. Of particular interest here is the degree to which her study of Semitic philology, against the backdrop of the mounting tide of National Socialism, impacted on her work. In addition, this essay deals with the question of the ways in which Lea Goldberg, stemming from a background of Russian culture in Lithuanian Kovno, acted as a literary mediator for Central and West European culture, in particular German culture, in Israel.

 

For the Hebrew translation of the book published by Zalman Shazar in 2014 Yfaat Weiss was awarded the Polonsky Prize for Creativity and Originality in the Humanistic Disciplines 2015.