Producing the Modern Hebrew Canon: Nation Building and Minority Discourse

Producing the Modern Hebrew Canon cover photo
Author (Faculty Member): 

By illuminating both the process of canon formation and the voices excluded from the canon this book offers a powerful alternative reading of twentieth century Hebrew fiction. A people’s literary texts can play a dramatic role in nation building, as the development of modern Hebrew literature powerfully illustrates. Since the end of the nineteenth century, Hebrew writers in Europe and Palestine/Israel have produced texts and consolidated moments in the shaping of national identity.

Yet this process has not always been a unified and continuous one. The processes of canon formation and the suppression of heterodox discourses have been played out publicly and vociferously. This book offers a sweeping view of the entirety of modern Hebrew literature, shedding light on the moments of rupture and reversal that have undermined efforts to construct a hegemonic Zionist narrative. It provides a model for understanding the relations between minority and majority voices in post-colonial situations, showing these processes working and changing over time, from the earliest days of the creation of a Zionist sensibility in literature to an Israeli state culture and the discourses of Arab otherness.

New York University Press, English
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2002