Dissertation: Poppe, Constructions of the I in the German Poetry of Israeli Writers

Poppe, Judith. “I am writing into deserted times” – Constructions of the I in the German Poetry of the Israeli Writers Netti Boleslav and Jenny Aloni, PhD dissertation. Göttingen: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, 2015 (in German).

 

URL: https://ediss.uni-goettingen.de/handle/11858/00-1735-0000-0028-86AD-7

 

Abstract

This study examines a subject that has been disregarded in literary history, namely Israeli literature written in the German language. Two authors, Jenny Aloni and Netti Boleslav, as well as their poetry, are used as paradigmatic case studies to show the relevance of this literature that crosses political and cultural borders. In the late thirties Boleslav and Aloni emigrated from Nazi-Germany and Prague to Palestine/Israel where they found a new home. They wrote poetry and prose in German until their death in the 1980s and 1990s. Their lives and works are reconstructed on the basis of documents such as diaries, letters and unpublished manuscripts that are contained in their literary estates and made public partly for the first time. From a methodological perspective, the hermeneutical analysis of the poems in their poetic value is here complemented by poststructuralist approaches of the Cultural Studies. Focusing on the construction of the “I” (the “I” in the poetry as well as the “I” of the empirical authors), this study pursues the traces of different times and places, where the literature has left its mark. The oeuvres of Aloni and Boleslav emerges at the intersections of two worlds, the German and the Israeli, and they wander between various regions and political units such as Bohemia, Nazi and post-Nazi Germany, the State of Israel and Czechoslovakia. Their poems draw from “Jewish” and “Israeli” literature, German pop culture, bucolic poetry and Zionist historiography. Until now the unique position of German Literature in Israel has been almost completely neglected. The present study fills this scholarly gap. The research combines concepts by Deleuze/Guattari and Kühne in order to coin the notion of “Kleine Zwischenliteratur”, which describes the main features of this literature. One of the main goals of the present examination is to grant this literature a more prominent place in the history of literary. Based on the results of the present thesis’ analysis it becomes apparent that notions of transdisciplinary and transnationality need to be mobilised in order to challenge the accepted categories of the discipline, enabling us to close the blind spot of the Israeli literature written in German.

 

 

 

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