Many contemporary Israelis suffer from a strange condition. Despite the obvious successes of the Zionist enterprise and the State of Israel, tension persists, with a collective sense that something is wrong and should be better. This cognitive dissonance arises from the disjunction between “place” (defined as what Israel is really like) and “Place” (defined as the imaginary community comprised of history, myth, and dream). Through the lens of five major works in Hebrew by writers Abraham Mapu (1853), Theodor Herzl (1902), Yosef Luidor (1912), Moshe Shamir (1948), and Amos Oz (1963), Schwartz unearths the core of this paradox as it evolves over one hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s.
Yigal Schwartz is Director of the International Research Center for Hebrew, Jewish and Israeli Literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He served until recently as Chair of the Department of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was visiting professor at Harvard University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He is the author of many articles and books on modern Hebrew literature and culture. He has edited more than one hundred books by well-known as well as young and promising Israeli writers including Ruth Almog, Nissim Aloni, Aharon Appelfeld, Yitzhak Ben-Ner, Yoel Hoffman, Amos Oz, Tsruyah Shalev, and Binyamin Tammuz. He was the coeditor with Tsruyah Shalev of the literary journal Efes Shtayim. His forthcoming book is Love, Ideology, and the Land of Israel.
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