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Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture in Translation: The Founders of Israeli Lit.: Yehoshua, Oz, Amichai

ENGL 079.401
crosslisted as: NELC 159, CIMS 159, COML 282, JWST 154
instructor(s):
MW 2-3:30

"I Want to Die in My Bed", an anti-war poem by the young Yehuda Amichai, epitomizes the rebellion of Israeli authors in the 1950s. Like “In Flanders Fields” by John McRae, it became an anti-war anthem of sorts.  Amichai and fellow poets Natan Zach and David Avidan rejected their predecessors’ glorification of nationalism and sacrifice, and felt disillusioned by the post-war reality of statehood.  It took twenty years for Israeli cinema to express a similar sentiment. Most Israeli films in the ‘50s and ‘60s ideologically resembled Exodus, the American cinematic portrayal of Zionism filmed in Israel. Fiction writers like A.B. Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld and Amos Oz preceded the awakening of the film industry.  Their short stories opposed war and undermined both the status of the kibbutz and collectivist ideology. Scholars would later dub all these authors "The Generation of the State" because they were the first to publish in the newly-established State of Israel and they forged the future of Hebrew literature. This course examines the various paths of artistic revolutions in Israel, juxtaposing Zionist works like the poetry of the 1948 war or the film Exodus with the avant-garde that disrupted them and studying parallel works from English literature.
There will be 5-6 film screenings.  The content of this course changes from year to year and therefore students may take it for credit more than once.