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Gershon Shaked's History of Hebrew Narrative Fiction: A Zionist Enterprise

Gershon Shaked's History of Hebrew Narrative Fiction: A Zionist Enterprise Gershon Shaked's major achievement is the analytic description of modern Hebrew narrative fiction (1880-1980) in five volumes, published between 1977-1998. This is not a monolithic work, because some of its methods, inner proportions, driving forces and basic assumptions have shifted during the years. While the early volumes reflect a structuralist-formalist inclination, the later ones emphasize social and historical contexts and deal with problems of reception, generic divisions, and generational attributes. However, one of the constant elements underlying the whole project is the assumption that modern Hebrew literature conducts a complex dialogue with what Shaked defines as "Zionist meta-narrative." By this term he means a basic myth of exile and redemption, destruction and revival—a profound belief that the return to Zion will bring mental, social, and national salvation to the Jewish people. According to Shaked, modern Hebrew fiction was molded to a great extent by the radiation of this meta-narrative, whether by confirming it or by criticizing it. This basic assumption (that can also be connected to Shaked's own biography and existential beliefs) is recently being questioned by younger generations of scholars, who seek to build other kinds of historiographic narratives, which emphasize literary trends (non-Zionist, diasporic, feminine, Sephardic, Palestinian) that were supposedly suppressed by the powerful, hegemonic narrative represented in Shaked's work. The present article seeks to reaffirm and revalidate Shaked's basic concept, while giving its opponents their proportionate weight. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hebrew Studies National Association of Professors of Hebrew

Gershon Shaked's History of Hebrew Narrative Fiction: A Zionist Enterprise

Hebrew Studies , Volume 49 – Oct 5, 2011

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Publisher
National Association of Professors of Hebrew
ISSN
2158-1681

Abstract

Gershon Shaked's major achievement is the analytic description of modern Hebrew narrative fiction (1880-1980) in five volumes, published between 1977-1998. This is not a monolithic work, because some of its methods, inner proportions, driving forces and basic assumptions have shifted during the years. While the early volumes reflect a structuralist-formalist inclination, the later ones emphasize social and historical contexts and deal with problems of reception, generic divisions, and generational attributes. However, one of the constant elements underlying the whole project is the assumption that modern Hebrew literature conducts a complex dialogue with what Shaked defines as "Zionist meta-narrative." By this term he means a basic myth of exile and redemption, destruction and revival—a profound belief that the return to Zion will bring mental, social, and national salvation to the Jewish people. According to Shaked, modern Hebrew fiction was molded to a great extent by the radiation of this meta-narrative, whether by confirming it or by criticizing it. This basic assumption (that can also be connected to Shaked's own biography and existential beliefs) is recently being questioned by younger generations of scholars, who seek to build other kinds of historiographic narratives, which emphasize literary trends (non-Zionist, diasporic, feminine, Sephardic, Palestinian) that were supposedly suppressed by the powerful, hegemonic narrative represented in Shaked's work. The present article seeks to reaffirm and revalidate Shaked's basic concept, while giving its opponents their proportionate weight.

Journal

Hebrew StudiesNational Association of Professors of Hebrew

Published: Oct 5, 2011

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