Ba-Gina (In the Garden) – Tchernichovsky's Poems for Children in Light of Liora Grossman's Illustrations

R. Weissbrod, A. Kohn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Our aim is to examine Tchernichovsky's collection of poems for children, Ba-Gina (In the Garden) through the prism of the relations between the verbal text and the illustrations accompanying it. These relations will be described in terms of intersemiotic translation (Jakobson 1959; Pereira 2008; Weissbrod and Kohn 2018). The collection, published in 2012 by Am Oved, includes 20 poems that Tchernichovsky wrote in the 1920s and 1930s. They were collected by his grandson, Dr. Alexander Vilensky, and illustrated by the Andersen Citation winner Liora Grossman. In our presentation, we shall concentrate on three main features of the poems, which can also be discerned in Tchernichovsky's poetry for adults: (1) His experimentation with the Hebrew language when it was still in the process of revival and lacked spoken variants. In his view, writing in Hebrew for children was an educational mission. (2) His love of nature, which was in line with his inclination to Romanticism, and particularly his affection for tiny creatures (animals, but also children). (3) His experiences as an immigrant who had to adapt himself to a new place and new landscapes. Selected poems and illustrations will serve as examples. Our main claim is that as a translator, Grossman does not silence or overpower the original, but at the same time she does not minimize her presence, as translators often do (Venuti 1995). Simulating Tchernichovsky's verbal garden, she creates her own garden on the space of the page and adds humorous effects by inserting into it elements from contemporary Israeli culture. Our innovation, which is grounded in a broad concept of translation, is viewing Grossman's illustrations as analogous to interlingual translation. Her translation both reconstructs and interprets the original, making it more accessible to today's young readers, who are likely to find the poems anachronistic and hard to follow.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 NAPH (National Association of Professors of Hebrew) Conference - National Association of Professors of Hebrew, Boston, United States
Duration: 24 Jun 201926 Jun 2019 (Website)


Conference2019 NAPH (National Association of Professors of Hebrew) Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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