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Contemporary Israeli Fiction in Translation: Israeli Identity Between Past and Future

HEST 230
Spring 2011 not offered
Certificates: Jewish and Israel Studies

Literary constructions of Israeli identity can project onto a particular narrative national allegory; they can use the fracturing of narrative form to deconstruct or pluralize such allegories; or they can, by resorting to more privatized explorations of Jewish histories excluded from the Zionist landscape, protest against or even ignore the demand to situate themselves within or adjacent to that allegorical space altogether. This course will examine yet another possibility that we might see as synthesizing and transcending those just enumerated: the construction of diverse and shared Israeli pasts through the constitution, even self-reflexive enactment, of a thoroughly individualized Israeli present. We will focus, that is, on novels that find their literary activity to be nothing more than the generation of a possible future out of the present's participation in the representation of the past. Such a project resumes the process of enriching, critiquing, exhausting, and renewing the originary Zionist narrative of the exceptional form taken by the normalization of Jewish life. We could suggest that the project of normalizing the Jewish people inevitably had the paradoxical effect of emphasizing everything exceptional about Jewish history, society, and destiny, but, even more, that, in a postmodern era predicated upon decentering norms, in a further paradox, this discovery would, in fact, be the normalization in question. The Zionist narrative, in that case, needs less to be contested, dismantled, or deconstructed than to have its own founding paradox made generative. The question contemporary Israeli fiction would then raise is not, Which narrative? or even, Whose narrative? but, Which other possible narratives?

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RELI
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None

Last Updated on JUL-14-2024
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