Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Translation and Ideology

When Innovation and Nationalism Clash

Nitsa Ben-Ari Tel (Aviv University)



The need to fulfill national needs was a crucial factor in translation into Hebrew when the new Hebrew then Israeli culture was being formed. All innovation that went along with the process was eagerly adopted; any other, counter-current was marginalized.

In this paper I would like to outline some characteristics of the clash between the need for innovation in a new modern culture, in the first stages of its formation, and pressing national needs, as expressed in literary translation.

The paper will present a basic portrait of the culture builders. It will then proceed to trace a picture of the themes that were encouraged as opposed to the ones marginalized. On the one hand it will sketch the socialistic, heroic themes that found a central place. On the other, it will illustrate how innovations such as feminism, erotic writing, or personal expression were pushed aside. It will dwell on the selection of favorable, prestigious source cultures for translation import, as opposed to politically non favorable source cultures. It will provide a sketch portrait of the translators involved.

Since the process was not undertaken under any formal censorship, the paper will conclude with thoughts on the role of norms and self-censorship in the formation of a new national culture.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-17