Sunday, January 29, 2006

Translating the Hobbit Into Hebrew


Fascinating tale of how several Israeli prisoners of war in Egypt spent their time in prison in the early 1970s translating the Hobbit as a way to give themselves something to do.

...Of the two Hebrew translations of JRR Tolkien's classic book The Hobbit, one of them was painstakingly written down in Egyptian exercise books by [Phantom pilot Rami] Harpaz and nine other Israeli prisoners-of-war languishing in a Cairo jail....

To tackle translating Tolkien's The Hobbit, the forerunner to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was the brainchild of Harpaz. On the back cover of the prisoners' Hebrew version of The Hobbit, however, no name appears for the translation - just a mention that it was a group effort by Israeli prisoners-of-war during their years of captivity in the Abaseyar prison...


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