Only Yesterday

By S. Y. Agnon; Barbara Harshav | Go to book overview

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

This translation has enjoyed the generous support and assistance of many friends. I had the good fortune to work with the intelligent and supportive Dr. Brigitta van Rheinberg of Princeton University Press. Once again, James Ponet, “the Hillel rabbi” at Yale, was an eager participant in my search for sources. Parts of the manuscript were read by Robert Alter, Carol Cosman, and Michal Govrin; Esther Fuchs carefully read the entire book. All of them contributed helpful suggestions and comments. And, as always, Benjamin Harshav makes it all possible.

I attempted to discover allusions in the text to sources in the “Jewish library,” and to track down their accepted English translations. In only one instance did I deliberately deviate from the original: in Book Four, Chapter One, the author presents an elaborate wordplay using biblical and talmudic passages to interpret the dream of a Hasid. Agnon used Deuteronomy 32:42 and Shabbat 12, while I used Exodus 6:1 and Miqvaot 5:5 to achieve the same effect. If there is some other world, where translators can discuss “deviations” with authors, I hope Agnon will understand.

Barbara Harshav SEPTEMBER 1999

-xxxi-

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