In this article, I address contemporary Hebrew translations of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, specifically those by the Israeli poet Anna Herman. My reading of Herman’s translation of Sonnet 18 contextualizes this translation in the Hebrew translation history of the Sonnets. I discuss how Hebrew retranslations of the Sonnets illuminate and complicate our understanding of shifts in the development of modern Hebrew writing and translation from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. How do Herman’s translations ‘compare’, as it were, with the translations that have come before, particularly those by male translators? As part of a neoformalist turn in contemporary Hebrew poetry, I call attention to the ways in which Herman’s translations, which were published in 2006, revitalize our reading of the original Shakespearean English and the Hebrew translations that followed, thereby constituting an altogether contemporary text.
Adriana X. Jacobs is Associate Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature in the Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford and author of Strange Cocktail: Translation and the Making of Modern Hebrew Poetry (University of Michigan Press).