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LBI Year Book Essay Prize winner 2024: Matthew Johnson

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We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2024 Leo Baeck Institute Year Book Essay Prize is Matthew Johnson for his article Off-Translation: Bertha Pappenheim’s Yiddish-German. The article will be published early, in our 2023 volume of the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book.

In his article, Johnson analyzes Bertha Pappenheim's translations of Old Yiddish literature, with a particular focus on Die Memoiren der Glückel von Hameln (The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln), which was published as a private edition in Vienna in 1910. The article delineates Pappenheim's evolving approach to translation and contextualizes this approach in terms of her feminist and religious commitments. Based on both close and paratextual readings of Die Memoiren, it identifies a trajectory in Pappenheim's work from 'translation proper' to 'off-translation'. 

Matthew Johnson is Senior Lecturer in Germanic Languages & Literatures at the Ohio State University, where he also serves as Director of Yiddish & Ashkenazic Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago in 2022. He is currently working on a book about the entangled literary and cultural histories of German-Jewish and Yiddish-language writers and intellectuals in the twentieth century. His research has been supported by the Posen Society of Fellows, the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna, and the Fulbright Program.

A new Essay Prize call for 2025 will be published shortly.