Friday, 4 June 2010

Mankell may bar Hebrew translations of his books

Via Ynetnews:
Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell may prohibit the translation of his popular books into Hebrew after the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, he said in an interview published on Thursday.
"I am a best-selling author in Israel and I must consider seriously whether I should block my books from being translated to Hebrew," the author of the popular Wallander series of detective novels told daily Dagens Nyheter
To me there's something wrong about this,but I can't put my finger to it...


A.Z. Foreman said...

What's wrong with it? Any number of things.

It bespeaks a vast amount of narcissism. "O Israel. Your people have offended me. I shall therefore punish you by DENYING YOU THE BLESSINGS OF MY WORK. muahahahahaha!"

As an act of protest, it's pretty ineffectual, considering how huge a proportion of the Israeli population could read the English translation just as easily as they could the Hebrew one.

It's childish (not to mention more than a little simpleminded) to make a language's speakers answerable for the actions of a government of the country where that language enjoys official status.

David McDuff said...

Thank you - I think you've summed it up pretty well.

I also think that there's an element of violence to language itself involved, and a writer, someone who uses language to create books, shouldn't really be engaging in such activity, even if it's just a plan.