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Biography & Autobiography Cultural Heritage

Jacob Isaac Segal

A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu

by (author) Pierre Anctil

translated by Vivian Felsen

Publisher
University of Ottawa Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2017
Category
Cultural Heritage, Jewish
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9780776625737
    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
    $29.99
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780776625713
    Publish Date
    Oct 2017
    List Price
    $39.95

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Description

Traduit par Vivian Felsen Finaliste des Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général (LivresGG) 2018, catégorie Traduction
Né en Ukraine en 1896, J. I. Segal arrive à Montréal en 1910 et allait devenir un des premiers écrivains yiddish au Canada. Sa poésie lyrique et mystique, de même que les nombreux essais et articles qu’il a signés, incarnent à la fois une riche tradition littéraire et le modernisme de son temps. 
Pierre Anctil a écrit bien plus qu’une biographie. Pour la première fois, la production poétique de Segal est référencée, traduite et analysée de manière rigoureuse. Elle est accompagnée de plus de 100 pages d’appendices qui jettent la lumière sur l’importance artistique, spirituelle, culturelle et historique de son oeuvre. En initiant le lecteur à l’oeuvre du poète grâce à des traductions inédites, Anctil montre qu’à plusieurs égards, Segal est le reflet de l’histoire des immigrants juifs arrivés en Amérique du Nord depuis la Russie, l’Ukraine et la Pologne au début du XXe siècle, de même que des expériences tragiques des intellectuels juifs réfugiés d’entre-deux-guerres. 
Cet essai admirablement bien écrit, ambitieux et pourtant tout en nuances, plaira tant aux chercheurs qu’à un plus grand public.
La version originale française (Presses de l’Université Laval) a reçu le prestigieux Prix du Canada en sciences humaines remis par la Fédération canadienne des sciences humaines.
Ce livre est publié en anglais.

About the authors

Pierre Anctil is an award-winning author, a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 2012 and a full professor at the Department of History of the University of Ottawa, where he teaches contemporary Canadian history and Canadian Jewish history. He has written at length on the history of Montreal’s Jewish community and on the current debates on cultural pluralism in Canada. His most recent English-language titles are Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu (2017) and A Reluctant Welcome for Jewish People: Voices in Le Devoir’s Editorials, 1910–1947 (2019), both at the University of Ottawa Press.

Pierre Anctil's profile page

With a background in modern history, modern languages and literature (French, Russian) and law, Vivian Felsen is a long-time translator of both French and Yiddish into English. Her published translations include books on Canadian Jewish history, Holocaust memoirs, and Yiddish short stories by women writers. Her involvement in Canadian Jewish Studies began with the translation of two books by her grandfather, Montreal Yiddish journalist Israel Medres. For the first translation, Montreal of Yesterday: Jewish Life in Montreal, 1900–1920, she won a Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2001 for Yiddish translation, and for the second, Between the Wars: Canadian Jews in Transition, she was the recipient of a J. I. Segal Award for the best translation of a book on a Jewish theme (in 2004). For her most recently published translation, J. I. Segal (1896–1954): A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu (2017) she has just been named a Finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Award in Translation (French into English). Some of the many poems by Segal, which she translated from Yiddish into English for that book, will appear in the forthcoming issue of the journal Canadian Jewish Studies. Among the several Holocaust memoirs which she has translated is Le Soleil voilé, Auschwitz 1942–1945 by Paul Schaffer. Her English version, published in 2015 as The Veiled Sun: From Auschwitz to New Beginning, includes a uniquely personal introduction to the original French edition by the late Simone Veil. The Veil of Tears (2016), her translation of the 1944 memoir Fun natsishen yomertol by Rabbi Pinchas Hirschprung, won a gold medal in the autobiography/memoir category of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and has just earned her the 2018 J. I. Segal Award for translation of a book on a Jewish theme. Vivian Felsen’s translations from the Yiddish of short stories by women writers have appeared in print, most notably in The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers (ed. Frieda Johles Forman), which received a Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2014. Over the years, she has made presentations related to Yiddish and Yiddish translation to various groups and organizations, as well as at academic conferences in Canada, the U.S., and Poland. She was a contributor to New Readings of Yiddish Montreal — Traduire le Montréal yiddish (eds. Pierre Anctil, Norman Ravvin, Sherry Simon; 2007), and her essay on Canadian Yiddish literature will be published in Kanade, di Goldene Medine? Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture / Perspectives sur la littérature et la culture juives canadiennes (eds: Krzysztof Majer, Justyna Fruzinska, Józef Kwaterko and Norman Ravvin), scheduled to appear in November of 2018. Vivian Felsen is also a visual artist who has regularly exhibited her paintings in Toronto for over forty years.

Vivian Felsen's profile page

Awards

  • Short-listed, Governor General Literary Awards (GGBooks), Translation category
  • Short-listed, Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards, finalist for Multicultural

Excerpt: Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu (by (author) Pierre Anctil; translated by Vivian Felsen)

In this book Pierre Anctil reveals to us a language we do not know, that of the Eastern European Jews who were escaping the pogroms in the Tsarist Empire, and later extermination by the Nazis during World War II.

Editorial Reviews

A beautifully written and researched book abounding in grace, nuance and depth.

Canadian Jewish Studies / Études juives canadiennes, volume 20

Published by the University of Ottawa Press last year, Felsen's translation has been hailed as a 'brilliant' and 'sensitive' rendering of Anctil's original work (...).

Ron Csillag

L'essai de Pierre Anctil est davantage qu'une biographie passionnée et passionnante. … À travers Segal, c'est toute la communauté juive est-européenne qui arrive massivement à Montréal qui est dépeinte, avec ses circulations mondiales, tant les liens sont nombreux avec les conjonctures européenne, nord-américaine et québécoise. La grande force de cet essai est de renouveler l'histoire du pluralisme québécois. 

Le jury du Prix du Canada, 2014

"première étude systématique de ce poète célébré partout dans le monde yiddish au cours des années 1930 (Vienne, Varsovie, New York, Buenos Aires), mais qui est demeuré peu connu au Canada français (et anglais). (…) le livre d’Anctil représente beaucoup plus qu’un ouvrage sur Segal puisque les lecteurs y puisent de l’information sur l’histoire et le milieu de provenance des Juifs, y compris la situation sociopolitique en Russie et dans les pays avoisinants. … quelque cent pages d’annexes viennent compléter l’imposant ouvrage, accompagné d’une bibliographie contenant, entre autres, les poèmes de Segal cités dans les chapitres, des articles par et sur l’auteur ainsi que quelques correspondances."

« Études critiques / Review Essays », Histoire sociale / Social History, p. 557

"According to Anctil Segal was the first poet in Quebec to embrace modern urbanity in his work. Consequently, he choses to focus on Segal’s Montréalité, both the lens through which the poet’s modernity is reflected and the repository of longing for the idealized innocence of the shietl. However, Segal also ‘appropriates’ Montreal by Yiddishizing it…This book is sure to resonate deeply with readers partly because the fragile memory of Segal, the reverred forgotten poet, is reminiscent of the fate of Yiddish culture itself….This intimate, compelling and scholarly collective portrait is essential for anyone interested in the inner life of the Jewish community, and in the immigrant experience in Montreal."

"Book Review | Compte rendu", CIS|EJC

As Canada’s most renowned Yiddish poet and a celebrated figure in Jewish letters, a full-length study of J.I. Segal is long overdue…. This is the first monograph to appear that focuses specifically on Segal. … A significant contribution to our knowledge of Segal’s life and writing… the extensive primary source material offered by this encyclopedic work will be of great value to those who seek to undertake a scholarly analysis that situates Segal within the wider context of Yiddish letters in Canada as well as internationally.

"Uncovering a Poet," Canadian Literature, Winter 2013, p. 131-132

Other titles by Pierre Anctil

Other titles by Vivian Felsen