Bulletin: Israeli literature and Israel in Literature

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New Article: Wiseman, Eternal Peace, a Satire by S.Y. Agnon

Wiseman, Laura R. “Shelom ‘Olamim—Eternal Peace by S.Y. Agnon: Yishuv-Era Society on the Brink of Statehood .” Modern Judaism 36.2 (2016): 163-85.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mj/kjw007

 

Extract

This 1942 satire is set in the period of Israel’s emergent statehood. Agnon delivers a critique of pre-statehood society and leadership at the nadir of drought, wrapped up in self-importance and internal rifts over inconsequential matters while the very existence of the people is threatened from without. While there is room for historical or theoretical examinations of such a story, this article adopts a literary approach for its methodology. It employs textual analysis to highlight a cluster of literary devices including a leitmotif, reverberations of classical Hebrew texts, and exaggerations. Together they animate the scathing satire in this period piece. To deploy the irony in Shelom ‘Olamim–“Eternal Peace” Agnon installs each rhetorical device and echo in an inverted or perceptibly flawed fashion, and magnifies minutiae to hyperbolic proportions. In so doing he crafts a game of nahafokh-hu a topsy-turvy puzzle, making his medium the message. The puzzle and its pieces carry the storyteller’s caustic criticism of the inverted priorities and unwarranted hubris of the leaders of yishuv-era society on the brink of statehood. In contributing a thesis based on textual analysis, an allegorical translation of the ambiguous Hebrew title, and fresh translations of selected excerpts, this article offers English-readers access to the humor and irony embedded in Agnon’s multivalent Hebrew writing and word play.

 

 

 

Lecture: Danjoux, Political Cartoons and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Political Cartoons and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm

CEREV Exhibition Lab – LB 671.00

1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W

Ilan Danjoux

Affiliate Assistant Professor

Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies

 

Danjoux

Despite growing analytical interest and explosive international attention, political cartoons remains on the outskirts of serious academic research. The visceral debate and violent reaction to both the Danish Cartoon controversy and the Charlie Hebdo caricatures only underscores the need for cartoon literacy. Using over 1,200 Israeli and Palestinian editorial cartoons published in the weeks preceding the outbreak of the Second Intifada, Dr. Danjoux will examine the cartoon’s relationship with violence and its ability to anticipate outbreak of conflict.

 

New Article: Ofengenden, Therapy and Satire in Contemporary Israeli Film and Literature

Ofengenden, Ari. “National Identity in Global Times: Therapy and Satire in Contemporary Israeli Film and Literature.” The Comparatist 39 (2015): 294-312.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2015.1103877

 

Extract

To conclude let us step back and look at the effects of all of these transformation narratives together. These and other novels and films engage in a sustained reusing of the past and successfully transform the way people articulate their identity. They do this with an empathic retelling of the national story like Oz, with the German or Arab Israeli other as in the film Walk on Water and Arab Labor, or with a crazed narrator like Kaniuk’s and Castel-Bloom’s. Therapeutic interventions end with a working through of displacement and immigration, a heightened awareness of the effects of the Holocaust, and a new appreciation of the creative potential of Jewish identity and culture. Self-critical satire breaks open a monolithic national identity, exposing its constructed nature and calls for creative transformations. We can now ask why these two narratives are so central to the way literature and film re-imagine national identity in contemporary times. I think that the answer lies most prominently in globalization. International flows of culture, goods, and people help strengthen civil society in its critique and parody of state violence and state agents. Somewhat paradoxically, globalization also leads to a demand for specifically national narratives in the international market. In a recent talk, Salman Rushdie pointed out that contemporary writers are increasingly asked to mediate the story of a nation for an international audience. Indeed that is what his own Midnight’s Children did for India, what J. M. Coetzee’s Disgrace did for South Africa, Toni Morrison’s novels for the U.S., and Oz and Grossman for Israel. Thus we get narratives that are called to represent the nation on an international market but heal, critique, or poke fun at it at the same time. The system in which Hebrew literature finds itself has radically changed. Previously this system or field was constructed as a national field; now the field is constituted as semi-global. Some actors achieve international success while others remain domestic. Some mediate and explain the national story on the global stage while others parody the nation in order to change it.

Israeli national-cultural discourse is not a sole expression of some underlying economic forces that determine its content. However, its expression is a result of creative adaptation to economical and political pressures and opportunities that have become more and more global. Mainstream literature and culture has responded by articulating narratives that simultaneously reflect feelings of lack of political agency and an empathic apologetic self-representation for the global other. Minor literature in Israel saw an opportunity in the weakening of the state to articulate a critique in the form of parody that attempts to reconfigure national identity.

 

 

 

New Article: Steir-Livny, Holocaust Humor, Satire, and Parody on Israeli Television

Steir-Livny, Liat. “Holocaust Humor, Satire, and Parody on Israeli Television.” Jewish Film & New Media 3.2 (2015): 193-219.

 

URL: https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jewish_film_new_media_an_international_journal/v003/3.2.steir-livny.html

 

Abstract
The politicization of the Holocaust has been reflected in Israeli culture from the late 1940s in cinema, literature, theater, and poetry; in the last several decades, it has also been depicted on Israeli television. Most of the representations of the Holocaust in the first decades of Israel’s existence were dramatic. But from the 1990s onward, Israelis also began to address the subject through satire. The case studies in this article focus on the satirical skits performed on episodes of The Chamber Quintet (Hahamishia Hakamerit; Matar Productions, Channel 2-Tela’ad, Channel 1, 1993–1997) and Wonderful Country (Eretz Nehederet; Keshet Productions, Channel 2-Keshet, 2003–2014). Diverging from arguments that these humorous skits addressing the Holocaust disrespect the Holocaust and its survivors, this article maintains that they instead articulate the powerful position the Holocaust holds as a constituting event in the consciousness and identity of younger generations in Israel.

 

 

New Article: Zandberg, Humor and the Collective Memory of Traumatic Events

Zandberg, Eyal. “Ketchup Is the Auschwitz of Tomatoes”: Humor and the Collective Memory of Traumatic Events.” Communication, Culture & Critique 8.1 (2015): 108-23.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cccr.12072/abstract

 

Abstract

This study explores the interrelations between humorous texts and the memory of traumatic events through an analysis of skits aired on Israeli television that are related to Holocaust memory. The study presents a typology of these skits indicating an evolutionary development: from the use of humor to criticize Holocaust remembrance to the use of Holocaust memory to create humorous effects. Contextualizing these findings in the fields of media memory and trauma theory, the study argues that this evolutionary development challenges the hegemonic commemorative discourse of the Holocaust: while commemorative discourse plays a distinctive role in performing cultural trauma, the media’s humorous discourse conveys a sacrilegious viewpoint and thus can play a vital role in recuperating from it.

New Book: Steir-Livny, Let the Memorial Hill Remember: Holocaust Representation in Israeli Popular Culture (Hebrew)

שטייר-לבני, ליאת. הר הזכרון יזכור במקומי. הזיכרון החדש של השואה בתרבות הפופולרית בישראל. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2014.

 

URL: http://www.resling.co.il/book.asp?book_id=793

 

book_793_big

Table of Contents

פתח דבר

מבוא: זיכרון ותודעת השואה בישראל – מושגים, היסטוריוגרפיה וכיווני חשיבה

1. עכשיו כבר מותר לצחוק? ייצוגים של הומור, סטירה ופרודיה בנושא השואה

2. הפוליטיזציה של השואה בתרבות הישראלית

3. אתניזציה של השואה

אחרית דבר

 

Abstract

Liat Steir-Livny’s book analyzes the representations of the Holocaust in Israeli popular culture from the 1980s onwards. Through a survey of film, television, journalism, literature, poetry, Facebook, blogs, and fringe theater it covers new and controversial representations that are nevertheless an integral part of contemporary Holocaust remembrance and commemoration. Steir-Livni argues that the second and third generation who carry the burden of national memory seek to keep away the trauma not because they disregard it, or because they are distant from it, but rather, because they are deeply immersed in and seek to find some peace. They do this, consciously and unconsciously, by using tools rhetorical and visual tools that leave behind the horrors of historical events, and convert them to create a series of foreign representations of horror of the traumatic events and exchange them for a series of representations that alienate and obscure the traumatic events in order to distance them. At the same time, however, these new representations indicate the extent to which the Holocaust is an integral part of their culture and of the identity of their creators.

 

Cite: The Theatrical Ammunition of the 1967 War

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Yerushalmi, Dorit. "The Theatrical Ammunition of the 1967 War." Journal of Israeli History 28,2 (2009): 195-212.

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This article discusses the effects of the Six Day War on plays performed in the 1967/68 and 1968/69 theater seasons, in an attempt to demonstrate the great variety of the plays produced and their direct and indirect links to the cultural narrative. Israeli theater exploited the cultural ammunition furnished by the war, thereby demonstrating its own relevance and active participation in the battle waged by the state. At the same time, however, it exposed its limitations as a critical medium: whether the shows reacted to the war explicitly or implicitly, most of them avoided the issues of the occupation, bereavement, and loss.

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Keywords: Israeli theater; Six Day War; Casablan; Ha-Gashash ha-Hiver; Hanoch Levin; musicals; satirical cabaret; political theater, דורית ירושלמי

URL: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a915192736