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Beyond Martyrdom: Rereading Shamir's With His Own Hands

Beyond Martyrdom: Rereading Shamir's With His Own Hands Earlier criticism has used Moshe Shamir&apos;s novel <i>Bemo yadav: pirkei Elik</i> (With his own hands: The Elik chapters; 1951) and the death of its protagonist Elik to argue that literature of the so-called Palmach generation sacrificed aesthetics to advance Zionist aims. Rather than accepting this view and its implicit preference for New Wave fiction, this paper reexamines Shamir&apos;s novel. It will argue that the novel reveals the difficult and unresolved struggles of an individual incapable of resolving the seeming contradiction between the heavy societal burdens placed upon him and his place within that society. As a result, one can read Elik&apos;s eventual death not as the result of his uncontested belief in collective aims, but as an effort to escape unresolved psychological issues. Read in this manner, the purported programmatic aims of the novel come into question together with generalizations about Palmach Generation literature and its ideological differences with later Israeli fiction. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hebrew Studies National Association of Professors of Hebrew

Beyond Martyrdom: Rereading Shamir&apos;s With His Own Hands

Hebrew Studies , Volume 49 – Oct 5, 2011

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Publisher
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
ISSN
2158-1681

Abstract

Earlier criticism has used Moshe Shamir&apos;s novel <i>Bemo yadav: pirkei Elik</i> (With his own hands: The Elik chapters; 1951) and the death of its protagonist Elik to argue that literature of the so-called Palmach generation sacrificed aesthetics to advance Zionist aims. Rather than accepting this view and its implicit preference for New Wave fiction, this paper reexamines Shamir&apos;s novel. It will argue that the novel reveals the difficult and unresolved struggles of an individual incapable of resolving the seeming contradiction between the heavy societal burdens placed upon him and his place within that society. As a result, one can read Elik&apos;s eventual death not as the result of his uncontested belief in collective aims, but as an effort to escape unresolved psychological issues. Read in this manner, the purported programmatic aims of the novel come into question together with generalizations about Palmach Generation literature and its ideological differences with later Israeli fiction.

Journal

Hebrew StudiesNational Association of Professors of Hebrew

Published: Oct 5, 2011

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