Jewish Studies | Modern Hebrew Literature in English
L380 | 2857 | N. Wahrman


Not until 1881, when Lithuanian-born Jewish scholar and leader Eliezer
Ben-Yehudah set out to claim Hebrew as a living language did Hebrew
thrive as a language both spoken and written.   Until then, Hebrew was
exclusively the language of the Bible, the Mishnah the Talmud, the
Haggadah and prayer books. But from 1881 on, Hebrew became the
language of the people who lived in the land of Israel, first as
Palestine and, after 1948, as the State of Israel. The first authors,
writing in Hebrew at the turn of the century, brought to their writing
both immigrant experience and memories of foreign landscapes and life
styles. The following generations, already sabra (native
Israeli-born), thought and wrote in a language which was for them
their mother-tongue.  Their natural choice of writing, and their world
of images were and are the Israeli landscape and experience.

The aim of this course, offered in English without prerequisites, is
to familiarize students with some of the chief features of modern
Israeli life and culture. The course does not presume any prior
familiarity with the subject.  We will read in order to acquire
familiarity with Hebrew literature and its role as mirror of a society
in transformation. Readings will be from required texts and library
holdings. The readings, mostly short stories, a few poems, excerpts
from a novel and one non-fiction study, are translations from some of
the best works in recent Hebrew literature. Our goal is to trace back
to the early 1900s and move chronologically from the early writers in
Hebrew from the tradition of European writing (S. Y. Agnon, Dvorah
Baron, Y. H. Brenner), through the middle generation of Israeli
writers in pre-1948 Israel (S. Yizhar, A. Megged, N. Shaham), the
Holocaust experience (D. Fogel, A. Appelfeld) and the new writers of
post War of Independence Israel to the present. The emphasis of this
course will be on the latter period. We will be reading texts by Amos
Oz, David Grossman, Yehudah Amichai, A. B. Yehoshua,  A.
Kahana-Karmon, N. Zach, Meir Shalev and others.

Final grades will be calculated on the basis of each student's
preparation of reading and written assignments, in-class content
quizzes, a mid-term and final exam, a required book summary and an
optional term paper.

Semester long course.

Fufills: Jewish Language and Literature coarse; A&H; Culture
Studies-List A