This course analyzes Hebrew and/or Israeli fiction, poetry and film that
feature dreams, fantasy and madness. The Zionist meta-narrative tells of an
active, conscious and rational enterprise of Israeli nation-building. Yet its
subversive shadow-side lurks in literary and cinematic nightmares, surrealist
wanderings and stories packed with dreams. This tension exists in the Hebrew
Literature of the twentieth century and persists in contemporary films and
writings that question the sanity of the protagonist and artist alike.
Although S.Y. Agnon, the uncontested master of Hebrew literature, denied ever
reading Freud, his works are fraught with dreams and psychoanalytic insight.
His literary heirs, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, the pillars of the Israeli
canon, often speak in the symbolic language of the subconscious. Older
Israeli films like New Land, as well as newly-released works like Waltz with
Bashir, also confront similar issues. Works by Freud, Kafka and Plath are
included in the course. There will be 5-6 film screenings; the films are on
reserve at Van Pelt for those unable to attend the screenings. The course
content changes every year, therefore students may take it for credit more