Suddenly, the Sight of War: Violence and Nationalism in Hebrew Poetry in the 1940s

Suddenly, the Sight of War cover photo
Author (Faculty Member): 

This book offers a challenging, rich, and innovative approach to the study of representations of violence in modern national poetry. Hebrew poetry had a major role in the national coming-to-terms with the fundamental issues arising from the massive violence Jews were confronted with during the Holocaust. At the center of their texts stood the emblematic figure of the Jewish victim as a national symbol; but, this book claims, by the end of 1942, when the enormity of the genocide against the Jews in Europe became clear, the paradigm of a poetic response to the violence anchored in the figuration of the messianic victimized was replaced with the poetics of allegory, serving as an expression of the internalization of the total defeat of the Jewish people.

The book then proceeds to investigate the Hebrew poetry developed during the second half of the 1940’s, when poetry turned to the military violence practiced by the Jews themselves in their struggle for political independence in the land of Israel. This study concludes with yet another innovative approach, focusing on the gender aspect of this poetry, especially on women poets writing about the war as they subvert Hebrew poetry’s hegemonic conventions.

Stanford University Press, English
Publication Date: 
February 24, 2016