Shaul Tchernichovsky was born in Mikhailovka, Russia, in 1875. He grew up in a religious home and attended a modern Hebrew school, before joining a Russian school at the age of ten. When he was fourteen he went to Odessa to continue his education. He specialised in the study of languages (German, French, English, Greek and Latin) - a skill that would later enable him to translate extensively. He failed to gain admission to a Russian university and so went to Heidelberg to study medicine. On completion of his degree he settled in St. Petersburg.
During the First World War, he served as an army doctor. Following
the Bolshevik Revolution Tchernichovsky's economic situation deteriorated and he spent the next years travelling and looking for work. He first returned to Odessa and then moved on to Constantinople before finally settling in Berlin.
Whilst in Berlin, he found work as a writer. Prior to this he'd had a collection of poems published back in his student days in 1892. In Berlin he edited the natural sciences and medicine section of an encyclopaedia, the literary section of a magazine, wrote stories and articles, and mainly devoted himself to translation (Sophocles, Goethe, Moliere, Shakespeare, and others).
In 1931 he was commissioned to edit The Book of Medical and Scientific Terms (in Latin, Hebrew and English), and thus was able to settle in Eretz, Israel. Upon completion of the work in he was appointed physician of the municipal schools in Tel Aviv. In 1936 he signed a contract with Schocken Publishing House, and moved to Jerusalem for the remainder of his life.
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