Israel’s national poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik, combined in a unique way his own wish for love and understanding and his people’s desire for a homeland.
Chaim Nachman Bialik was born in Radi, the Ukraine on January 9, 1873, and died in Vienna, Austria on July 4, 1934, following surgery. Fatherless at the age of seven, Bialik received an Orthodox Jewish education. In his youth he studied at the Volozhin Yeshiva in Belarus, while leaning toward the enlightenment movement, an attraction that led him to move to Odessa at the age of eighteen. There he devoted himself to studying Russian and German, and the reading of secular literature. Two years later he married, working for a living as a Hebrew teacher, and a coal dealer, for a decade.
In 1901 Bialik’s first book of poems was published in Warsaw, where he lived from 1903-1905, editing the journal Shiloah, and later founding the Moriah publishing house for classic Hebrew textbooks. In 1904 and 1908 he visited Palestine. Throughout these years Bialik turned increasingly to writing and translating, publishing in Hebrew works from the European literary canon: the poetry of Heine, Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and Cervantes’ Don Quixote. In 1921 he founded the Dvir publishing house in Berlin and moved to Tel Aviv three years later, where he occupied himself with cultural activities and other public works.
Ever since that time, to this very day, Bialik has been considered the foremost modern Hebrew poet. His poetic oeuvre is small, but broad in its themes: Bialik often depicted the suffering of his people, but to his contemporary readers he offered mainly a direct approach to doubt, desire and the isolation of human existence. In contrast to his lyric and epic poetry, his stories excel at their movingly realistic descriptions, often touched with humor, and characterized by their author’s rich imagination, and a blend of joy in the every day with the sorrows of life.
On a Summer's Day
I Didn't Win Light in a Windfall
After My Death
Take Me Under Your Wing
A Long Bough
Also on this site
Bialik: caught in a world whose God is dead
Translator Ruth Nevo on Bialik.
On Bialik’s ‘Return’: where to and what for?
PIW editor Rami Saari on Bialik.
Ha-Shirim (The Poems), Dvir, 2005.
Shirim 1899-1934 (Poems 1899-1934), Dvir, 1990.
Shirim 1890-1898 (Poems 1890-1898), Dvir, 1983.
Ktavim gnuzim (Posthumous Works), Dvir / Mosad Bialik, 1971.
Kitvey Chaim Nachman Bialik (The Writings of Chaim Nachman Bialik), Dvir, 1938.
Shirim u-fizmonim l-iladim (Poems and Songs for Children), Dvir, 1933.
Kol kitvey Chaim Nachman Bialik (All the Writings of Chaim Nachman Bialik), Xovevey ha-Shira ha-’ivrit, 1923.
Shirim (Poems), Xovevey ha-Shira ha-’ivrit, 1908.
Shirim (Poems), Tushiyya, 1901.
Bialik’s poetry has been translated into many languages, among which Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Yiddish.
An article by Moshe Nahir about the development of modern Hebrew with a reference to Bialik (chapter 3.3).
A biographical note.
Institute of Translation of Hebrew Literature
Books and Writers
A presentation of Bialik and his work on a Finnish web-site.
World Zionist Organization
One more presentation of Bialik.
Bialik’s page at the Free Encyclopedia.
Columbia University Press
A rather exhaustive presentation of Bialik.
A very short biography.
An exhaustive web-site with Bialik’s poetry and prose.
Ramat Aviv Gimmel
A page dedicated to Bialik with several useful links.
Biography and links.
Chaim Nachman Bialik
Links meant for teaching Bialik’s poetry.
Center for Educational Technology
One more Bialik biography.
A short biography.
Elena Loewenthal’s article ‘Bialik’s trumpet sounds in the forest’.
University of Bordeaux
Simonetta Mengato’s article about one of Bialik’s poems, Bialik’s biography and notes on Yiddish.
Paulina Biskup’s exhaustive page on Bialik.
An article about Bialik and his poetry.
An article about Hebrew poetry with a wide reference to Bialik.
An article in memory of Bialik.
A translation and an analysis of one of Bialik’s poems.
One more biography.
A short biography.
Another short biography.
Yelena Slonim’s article on teaching Bialik’s and Tchernikhovsky’s poetry.
Yakov Olshan’s article on Bialik and his poetry.
Vygodsky’s translations of stories by Bialik.
Translations of Bialik’s poems and articles by several authors and scholars.
A great site dedicated to Bialik in Spanish: a biography, a list of translated poems, translations and a forum.
A short biography.
One more short biography.
An article by Esther R. Jarmatz about Bialik and his poetry.
Moshe Dayán’s article on Bialik’s poetry.
Israeli Foreign Ministry
Yonatán Dubosarsky’s article on Beit Bialik, Bialik’s home which is nowadays a museum and a cultural center.
A translation of one of Bialik’s poems.