Hebrew Revival Literature: Modernism and Nationalism in the 20th Century
In the beginning of the twentieth century, Hebrew literature became a major site of transformation and reform. But how could a “modern” literature be written in a non-spoken, holy tongue? In both its themes and aesthetics, the literature of “Hebrew Revival” reshaped the Hebrew language and employed it to envision modern Jewish subjectivity and create it anew. This literature articulated new modes of thinking on Jewish nationalism, identity, body and sexuality. Identifying literature as a modern institution, entwined with the rise of nationalism, this course examines the links between modernist poetics and the nationalist imagination. It asks how literature constructs nationalist consciousness and whether, and in what ways, it ever exceeds it. Our weekly sessions will be dedicated to reading diverse texts (short stories, poems, novels, essays and literary theory and tackling some of the issues that they raise, including the emergence of Zionism, gender and sexuality, Jewish immigration to Palestine, religion and secularization. We will acquire methodologies of literary analysis, pay attention to rhetoric and style, and practice close reading.