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Jew to Israeli (and back)

As Israel prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Glenda Abramson considers how its literature has evolved from nation-building social realism to something more post-modern

By Glenda Abramson   February 1998

What do we expect from a modern literature written in the language of the Old Testament? To traditional Jewish culture, the text is all-important. Israeli writers are as attentive to the text as their forebears ever were, but in a manner that proclaims modernism: they manipulate its sacred voice in such a way that it speaks for their secular selves.

Amos Oz commented recently that Israeli readers do not enjoy their literature. They often complain, he added, that their writers are dangerous to the national morale and damaging to Israel’s reputation in the outside world.

The blurring of the boundaries…

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