New Book: Hever, Suddenly the Sight of War

Hever, Hannan. Suddenly, the Sight of War. Violence and Nationalism in Hebrew Poetry in the 1940s. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

 Hever

Suddenly, the Sight of War is a genealogy of Hebrew poetry written in pre-state Israel between the beginning of World War II and the War of Independence in 1948. In it, renowned literary scholar Hannan Hever sheds light on how the views and poetic practices of poets changed as they became aware of the extreme violence in Europe toward the Jews.

In dealing with the difficult topics of the Shoah, Natan Alterman’s 1944 publication of The Poems of the Ten Plagues proved pivotal. His work inspired the next generation of poets like Haim Guri, as well as detractors like Amir Gilboa. Suddenly, the Sight of War also explores the relations between the poetry of the struggle for national independence and the genre of war-reportage, uniquely prevalent at the time. Hever concludes his genealogy with a focus on the feminine reaction to the War of Independence showing how women writers such as Lea Goldberg and Yocheved Bat-Miryam subverted war poetry at the end of the 1940s. Through the work of these remarkable poets, we learn how a culture transcended seemingly unspeakable violence.

 

Table of Contents

Part I: Hebrew Symbolist Poetry During World War II
1. “The Real Has Become a Symbol”
2. The Dispute over War Poetry
3. Criticism of Nationalism Violence
4. Reading Nationalist Poetry Critically
5. Nationalism Anthologized
6. The Living-Dead in Joy of the Poor
7. Revence on a Nationalist Scale
8. Leah Goldberg Writes War Poetry
9. The Duality of the Symbolist Woman Poet
10. The Living-Dead and the Female Body
11. Amir Gilboa: Boy Poet

Part II: Historical Analogy and National Allegory During the Holocaust
12. A Surprising Moral Judgment
13. The Uncommon Stance of a Major Poet
14. Critical Reception
15. A Postnationalist Reading
16. A Symbol, Not an Allegory
17. Allegory in The Poems of the Plagues of Egypt versus Symbolism in Joy of the Poor
18. Allegory as a Nonhegemonic Stance
19. Alterman and the Memory of the Holocaust
20. The Father-Son Strategy
21. Blind Vengeance
22. Breaking the Cycle of Crime and Punishment
23. History of the Defeated

Part III: Symbols of Death in the National War for Independence
26. Return of the Hegemonic Symbol
27. The Living-Dead in the Independence War
28. Amir Gilboa and the Subversion of the Symbol
29. Gilboa versus the Metaphor of the Living-Dead
30. Poets as Reporters
31. Sorrow Petrified into Symbols
32. Hegemonic Strategies
33. From Reportage to Lyric
34. Women Write of Fallen Soldiers as Flesh and Blood
35. In the Service of National Subjectivity
36. Women and the Metaphor of the Living-Dead
37. Criticism of the Living-Dead Metaphor
38. The Authority and Power of Women
39. Popular versus Canonical Mourning
40. The Secrets and Power of Women

Conclusion
Index

 

HANNAN HEVER is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature at Yale University. He is the author of several books, including Producing the Modern Hebrew Canon.

 

 

 

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