Kronfeld, Chana. The Full Severity of Compassion. The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.
Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000) was the foremost Israeli poet of the twentieth century and an internationally influential literary figure whose poetry has been translated into some 40 languages. Hitherto, no comprehensive literary study of Amichai’s poetry has appeared in English. This long-awaited book seeks to fill the gap.
Widely considered one of the greatest poets of our time and the most important Jewish poet since Paul Celan, Amichai is beloved by readers the world over. Beneath the carefully crafted and accessible surface of Amichai’s poetry lies a profound, complex, and often revolutionary poetic vision that deliberately disrupts traditional literary boundaries and distinctions. Chana Kronfeld focuses on the stylistic implications of Amichai’s poetic philosophy and on what she describes as his “acerbic critique of ideology.” She rescues Amichai’s poetry from complacent appropriations, showing in the process how his work obliges us to rethink major issues in literary studies, including metaphor, intertextuality, translation, and the politics of poetic form. In spotlighting his deeply egalitarian outlook, this book makes the experimental, iconoclastic Amichai newly compelling.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: “Be an Other’s, Be an Other”: A Personal Perspective
- 1 Beyond Appropriation: Reclaiming the Revolutionary Amichai
- 2 “In the Narrow Between”: Amichai’s Poetic System
- 3 “I Want to Mix Up the Bible”: Intertextuality, Agency, and the Poetics of Radical Allusion
- 4 Celebrating Mediation: The Poet as Translator
- 5 Living on the Hyphen: The Necessary Metaphor
- 6 Double Agency: Amichai and the Problematics of Generational Literary Historiography
CHANA KRONFELD is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of On the Margins of Modernism: Decentering Literary Dynamics (winner of the MLA Scaglione Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literary Studies) and the co-translator (with Chana Bloch) of Yehuda Amichai’s Open Closed Open: Poems (winner of the PEN Translation Prize). Kronfeld is the recipient of the Akavyahu Lifetime Achievement Award for her studies of Hebrew and Yiddish poetry.