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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2005

MES 322K • Love and State in Contemporary Israeli Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39605 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
CAL 22

Course Description

Since its inception as a nationally (rather than linguistically) defined literature, Israeli literature has struggled with the tensions between the personal and the political. The representation of love in Israeli literature is one example of this struggle. While love is often depicted as being tied inextricably to the moral and political dilemmas that Israel has encountered, some Israeli authors and poets have defied this link in their insistence on love as profoundly personal and a-historical. We will examine various representations of love in this context, with a special emphasis on adultery, a recurrent theme in contemporary Israeli writing by both men and women. Long-established writers of the State Generation such as A. B. Yehoshua and Amos Oz, for example, have written extensively about adulterous affairs. These affairs often correlate implicitly or explicitly to the protagonists relation to the State, paralleling a breakdown in their faith in Zionism (the Hebrew word 'bgida' refers to both treason and adultery). For younger writers, too, adultery is a recurrent theme. Tsruya Shalev is an author who examines adultery from a level that is at once more personal and more universal. We will compare the representation of adultery as it developed generationally from the writers of the State Generation and the Zionist Left to the younger authors writing in a period of intense debate about Zionism, both international and domestic. We will also examine gender relations within the adulterous relationship as a parallel to the relationship between the individual and the State, developing from a rigidly masculine model to a subversively feminine one. Ultimately, we shall consider these understandings of love Æ the personal and the political in terms of the current social and literary climate in Israel.


Ronit Matalon, Sara, Sara; Orly Castel-Bloom, Human Parts: Meir Shalev, The Loves of Judith; Tsruya Shalev, Love Life; A. B. Yehoshua, The Lover; Amos Oz, A Perfect Peace; Amos Oz, To Know a Woman; Savyon Liebrecht, A Man and a Woman and a Man; David Grossman, Be My Knife; Yoel Hoffmann, The Heart Is Katmandu; Sayed Kashua, Dancing Arabs; Yona Wallach, Wild Light " Poems; Shulamit Hareven, "Two Hours on the Road; Leah Aini, "Rest; Dalia Ravikovitch, poems


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