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.

 

 

 

CfP: Graduate conference at Cambridge, Patterns of Protest in Hebrew Culture

Call for Papers

Patterns of Protest in Hebrew Culture: Memory, Agents and Representation

2014 Cambridge Graduate Conference in Modern Hebrew

We would like to invite graduate students from within or without Hebrew Studies, as well as academics, artists and other interested parties to submit proposals for the Cambridge Hebrew Graduate Conference 2014, “Patterns of Protest in Hebrew Culture: Memory, Agents and Representation,” to be held on Tuesday 6 May 2014 at Cambridge. The conference aims to facilitate and promote discussion in the field of Modern Hebrew Studies, stimulating scholarship in the UK academy and bringing it into conversation with academics from around the world.

Recent waves of political protest in the Middle East have drawn critical focus to tensions regarding the future of societies and communities in the region and to the clash of worldviews and visions. Protest and the changes it brings are difficult phenomena to measure, and we tend to understand them mainly through examining political systems and the actions of leaders. In this conference we wish to promote a different debate by taking focus away from speeches in Parliament and statements to the media and aiming it toward the dynamics of culture.

2011’s wave of social protest in Israel caught many by surprise, as hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets to demand social justice, a lower cost of living and a government response to the concerns of the middle class. Although the social justice movement challenged 21st century Israeli neo-liberalism, it often did so by employing the rhetoric of a diverse tradition of Hebrew texts, from Amir Gilboa’s poetry to the words of the Hebrew Bible.

The link between Hebrew texts and political and social protest is as ancient as the books of the prophets. Throughout history, Hebrew writers have articulated the prohibited and the revolutionary, in advance – and in advancement – of wider public acceptance. What part, then, has protest played in shaping Hebrew culture, throughout its history and in the present?

The purpose of this conference is to bring together young scholars from different disciplines to investigate the historical and cultural significance of Hebrew as a language of protest, and the forms of expression of protest and protest movements – topics surprisingly unexplored by academia. We welcome contributions that consider this theme from diverse theoretical perspectives and academic disciplines. We particularly welcome papers that examine the complimentarity and tensions between political dissent and Hebrew literary production – how is protest rendered intelligible in ways that serve to contain or depoliticize struggles? How has Hebrew, the language of tradition, served these modes of dissent as a means of reclaiming agency in the face of existing power structures? And how, in contemporary Israel, is Hebrew protested against as the language of power?

Participants will be invited to present their work as part of themed panels, followed by questions and discussion with Cambridge students, academics and fellow conference attendees.

Abstracts of 300-500 words are requested by 1 February 2014, with accepted papers to follow in full by March. Please submit abstracts, along with a brief academic C.V, to chgc2014@gmail.com. Any further queries may be sent to the same address.