Beneath the Surface: The Untranslated Uri Orlev

Eve Tal


Uri Orlev, the winner of the 1996 Hans Christian Anderson Award, is the most widely known Israeli author of children's books. Eight of his children's books have been translated into English, the largest number of any Israeli author who writes for children: six deal with Holocaust themes while two are contemporary picture books. To date, Orlev has written thirty books for children and three for adults in Hebrew. Like the tip of an iceberg, slightly over a quarter of Orlev's work is visible to the English reading public. Why were certain books chosen for translation? Are the untranslated texts inferior to those that have been translated, or are non-literary criteria at work? Does the choice to translate a text into English reflect something intrinsic in the text, or in the society that chooses to translate or reject a particular text? This paper examines Orlev's untranslated works, particularly the works of fantasy, while attempting to find answers to these questions.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680