The emergence of Zionism in the late nineteenth-century and the evolution of Zionist society in Palestine were profoundly influenced by the Hebrew literature of the day. As Todd Hasak-Lowy cogently argues in this book, Hebrew authors wrote with the belief that accurately representing Jewish society—including its history—in their texts would both record the past and establish its future course.
Hasak-Lowy traces the tensions between the extraliterary—the historical, social, and political—and the literary—the aesthetic, formal, and stylistic—in Hebrew fiction. Focusing on canonical Hebrew texts by S.Y. Abramovitz,Y. H. Brenner, S.Y. Agnon, and S. Yizhar, the author establishes how their works and the works of other Jewish authors served as the intellectual and political leadership to the not yet fully amalgamated nineteenth-century diaspora.
Todd Hasak-Lowy is assistant professor of Hebrew language and literature at the University of Florida. He is the author of the short story collection The Task of This Translator and the novel Captives.