Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Modern Hebrew Literature in English
N588 | 26538 | Katz

The course is intended to acquaint students with the chief issues,
forms and writers of modern Hebrew literature active in the first
half of the twentieth century. L380/ N588 carries foreign language
culture option credit and does not require or assume any previous
acquaintance with Hebrew or Hebrew literature. However, L480 / N687
assumes an ability to read and comprehend advanced Hebrew literary

Readings will consist primarily of representative short stories and
a novel. Some selections of poetry, when assigned, will be read in
class. The primary purpose of the readings will be to introduce
students to the culture of the shtetl, the small east European
Jewish hamlet. We will be exploring the way in which literature
responds and reflects major historical events in the Jewish
experience of the early twentieth century. In that regard, we shall
explore the many forces prompting the protagonists' rebellion
against that way of life with its insular piety. Yet, having
abandoned the ways and values of the shtetl, the youth of those days
are depicted as being left with the burden of seeking out new roots
and finding a meaning for their lives.

Under the phenomenon of this large cultural transformation, as we
shall see, Hebrew literature had to contend with and give expression
to the most central events and themes of modern times affecting
Jewish life: the loss of innocence and tradition in a modern,
secular, world; nationalism; the Holocaust; the rebirth of Israel;
wars, peace and the individual; the image of the new Israeli.

Grades will be based on a minimum of four writing assignments to be
done outside of class as well as at least one in class may serve as
the final. An optional paper will be made available to those wishing
to do extra credit work.