Bulletin: Israeli literature






Cite: Merin, Intertextuality and Cross-Gender Identification in Kahana-Carmon’s Early Prose

Merin, Tamar. “The Secret That Makes a Hero of the Weak: Intertextuality and Cross-Gender Identification in Amalia Kahana-Carmon’s Early Prose.” Nashim 25 (2013): 89-113.

URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/nashim.25.89


This article explores the early prose fiction of Amalia Kahana-Carmon, one of the “founding mothers” of contemporary Israeli literature. Lacking strong literary foremothers, Kahana-Carmon established her formative place in Israeli literature through an intertextual process based on crossgender identification with a male literary tradition which is thereby opened up to a new reading. The article examines the cross-gender intertextual process sketched out by Kahana-Carmon in her early prose, focusing on the story that became, in time, the one most identified with her: “Ne‘ima Sasson kotevet shirim” (Ne‘ima Sasson writes poems). As I would argue, the complex, gender-loaded literary dialogue with the Hebrew canon outlined in “Ne‘ima Sasson” laid the foundation for Kahana-Carmon’s poetics. This is a poetics (or, rather—ars-poetica) based on an ongoing confrontation with the male canon of Hebrew literature, a canon with which Kahana-Carmon identifies while at the same time exposing its gender-fluid aspects, which were not recognized by her male peers or by Hebrew literature scholarship.