A portrait of Israeli literature in its full transnational and multilingual complexity.
Toward the end of the twentieth century, an unprecedented surge of writing altered the Israeli literary scene in profound ways. As fresh creative voices and multiple languages vied for recognition, diversity replaced consensus. Genres once accorded lower status—such as the graphic novel and science fiction—gained readership and positive critical notice. These trends ushered in not only the discovery and recovery of literary works but also a major rethinking of literary history. In Since 1948, scholars consider how recent voices have succeeded older ones and reverberated in concert with them; how linguistic and geographical boundaries have blurred; how genres have shifted; and how canon and competition have shaped Israeli culture. Charting surprising trajectories of a vibrant, challenging, and dynamic literature, the contributors analyze texts composed in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic; by Jews and non-Jews; and by Israelis abroad as well as writers in Israel. What emerges is a portrait of Israeli literature as neither minor nor regional, but rather as transnational, multilingual, and worthy of international attention.
“The extensive introduction does a great job of scanning the various stages in the development of Israeli literature and devises a new periodization of this rich corpus using original criteria. The book as a whole presents a strong overall view of this body of literature without becoming encyclopedic, attempting to begin a process of canonization. Furthermore, while this book speaks of the margins, it also considers the central narrative and works to redefine both.” — Nili Gold, author of Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel’s National Poet
Nancy E. Berg is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her previous books include Exile from Exile: Israeli Writers from Iraq,, also published by SUNY Press. Naomi B. Sokoloff is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. Her previous books include Imagining the Child in Modern Jewish Fiction. Together, Berg and Sokoloff are the coeditors of What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (and What It Means to Americans), winner of the National Jewish Book Award for anthologies and collections.