This talk is drawn from Hellerstein’s new book project, China through Yiddish Eyes: Translating Culture in the Early Twentieth Century, a study of Yiddish writings about China. These works— poems, translations, fiction, travelogues, journalism, and memoirs—were written and published in the first half of the twentieth century in Shanghai, Warsaw, and New York. Focusing on Yiddish translations of Chinese poems that appeared in the New York modernist journal, Shriftn (Writings), in 1925-1926, Hellerstein will draw connections between the 8th century classical Chinese poet Li Bai, a 20-something Jewish immigrant to New York, and both famous and obscure American literary figures, in order to prompt discussion about culture and translation.
About the Speaker: DR. KATHRYN HELLERSTEIN is Associate Professor of Yiddish at the University of Pennsylvania. Educated at Wellesley and Brandeis (BA), and Stanford (M.A., PhD), Hellerstein is a poet, a literary translator, and a scholar of Yiddish poetry and Jewish American literature. Hellerstein’s critical study, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish (1586-1986), is forthcoming from Stanford University Press.
Her other books include her translation and study of Moyshe- Leyb Halpern’s poems, In New York: A Selection, (Jewish Publication Society, 1982), Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (Wayne State University Press, 1999), and Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, of which she is co-editor (W. W. Norton, 2001).