A New History of Modern Hebrew Literature
Baruch Kurzweil was perhaps the most belligerent early critic of Hebrew Literature. Kurzweil viewed Jewish modernity as catastrophe – a radical discontinuity with the Jewish past that was pregnant with disaster. His answer to the loaded question posed by the title of his most influential book, Our Modern Literature-Continuity or Revolt? – is that Modern Hebrew literature has but false claims of inheritance – it represents not the renewal of the Jewish spirit, but its fragmentation.
Our new collection, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, aims to renew a dialogue with Kurzweil’s view of Jewish modernity as crisis, and with his associated rejection of the historical trajectory that moves from traditionally informed texts, through enlightenment, culminating in the literature of the State of Israel. However, whereas for Kurzweil there was one, totalizing axis to the crisis of Jewish modernity – de-sacralization – our collection will try to delineate a multiplicity of economic, gendered, aesthetic and linguistic crises that defined the heterogeneous history of the modern Hebrew text. By focusing critical inquiry on Hebrew literature as it recorded and responded to crisis, we aim to bring to the fore the multiple narratives of this history.
With this in mind, we welcome contributions on a diversity of themes. We would be particularly interested in essays that engage critically with processes of canonization and the ways in which literary history writing unavoidably participates in a certain discourse of power through acts of inclusion and exclusion. We seek papers that address literary multilingualism and the history of Hebrew translation, as well as work which positions the Hebrew text in a global-transnational context. We also invite comparative work on Jewish and non-Jewish languages. Of particular interest at this time are essays addressing the American Hebrew literary center in the early 20th century, Palestinian Hebrew writing, popular literature, new media and the history of Hebrew print media.
Please email proposals by the end of July for delivery one year later in July 2023. Please email a title and an abstract of 300-500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.