Reading Israel, Reading America

9781503610057: Hardback
Release Date: 12th November 2019

9781503610934: Paperback
Release Date: 12th November 2019

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 272

Edition: 1st Edition

Series Stanford Studies in Jewish History and Culture

Stanford University Press

Reading Israel, Reading America

The Politics of Translation between Jews

Reading Across Borders analyzes the relationship between Jewish Americans and Jewish Israelis through the lens of translation studies, shedding light on the different ways in which each Jewish cultural center responded to the challenge—and potential inspiration—represented by the other.
Hardback / £77.00
This book can only be pre-ordered within 2 months of the publication date.
Paperback / £24.99
This book can only be pre-ordered within 2 months of the publication date.

American and Israeli Jews have historically clashed over the contours of Jewish identity, and their experience of modern Jewish life has been radically different. As Philip Roth put it, they are the "heirs jointly of a drastically bifurcated legacy." But what happens when the encounter between American and Israeli Jewishness takes place in literary form—when Jewish American novels make aliyah, or when Israeli novels are imported for consumption by the diaspora?

Reading Israel, Reading America explores the politics of translation as it shapes the understandings and misunderstandings of Israeli literature in the United States and American Jewish literature in Israel. Engaging in close readings of translations of iconic novels by the likes of Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Amos Oz, A. B. Yehoshua, and Yoram Kaniuk—in particular, the ideologically motivated omissions and additions in the translations, and the works' reception by reviewers and public intellectuals—Asscher decodes the literary encounter between Israeli and American Jews. These discrepancies demarcate an ongoing cultural dialogue around representations of violence, ethics, Zionism, diaspora, and the boundaries between Jews and non-Jews. Navigating the disputes between these "rival siblings" of the Jewish world, Asscher provocatively untangles the cultural relations between Israeli and American Jews.

Omri Asscher is a postdoctoral fellow at the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies at UCLA. His translations into Hebrew include Samuel Beckett's Murphy and Watt and Guy Deutscher's The Unfolding of Language.