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).
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 Their lives and works are reconstructed on the basis of documents such as diaries, letters and unpublished manuscripts that are contained in their literary estates and made public partly for the first time.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.
It is widely accepted within Jewish historiography that the ‘Six Day War’ (1967) had a profound effect on the British Jewish community’s relationship with Israel and Zionism. While this scholarship touches on the affective nature of this relationship, it rarely gives this aspect sustained consideration. Instead of seeing Zionism as an ideology or a political movement, this article argues that the hegemonic way that Zionism has existed within British Jewry since 1967 is as an affective disposition primarily lived out on the planes of popular culture and the British Jewish everyday. As such, it can be more accurately labelled Popular Zionism. In order to make this argument, this article uses a theoretical framework developed by Lawrence Grossberg that brings the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to bear on British cultural studies and supports it by drawing on 12 semi-structured interviews with British Jews and original archival material.
The representation of the Mizrahi male body in Israeli culture differentiates between the Western Ashkenazi body, which served as the standard of fitness and hygiene and of social functionality, and the Oriental Mizrahi body which, in hegemonic perspective, represented the defective, dangerous opposite of these qualities.
In this context, I find it appropriate to use the concepts defined by Deleuze and Guattari about the body and its variety of emerging forms, which they understand not only as multifaceted forms of resistance to institutional imprint on the body but also as ways of creating flexible and multifaceted alternative possibilities of bodily experience. These concepts may well signify a place where Mizrahim themselves conduct a subversive literary discourse about Mizrahi corporeality, while deconstructing the hegemonic narrative framework related to the Mizrahi body. Dan-Benaya Seri (Misha’el) blurs the boundaries between men and women – as well as between humans and animals. Albert Suissa (Akud) elaborates on a new language of gestures and body positions that repudiates any meaningful interpretation. Mizrahi writing refused to reproduce the national Zionist Israeli body and was instead attentive to the living body and its multiple possibilities of becoming.