The Polyphony of Jewish Culture

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Stanford University Press, 2007 - Religion - 285 pages
This book is a coat of many colors. It is a collection of essays written in English by the distinguished Israeli literary and cultural critic, Benjamin Harshav, covering the whole span of Jewish culture. The essays combine a wide historical scope with meticulously detailed close analyses of the art of poetry. They discuss general aspects of Jewish history, such as the demographic situation of the Jews in Eastern Europe and the phenomenon of exuberant multilingualism, Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon's Only Yesterday, the religious/secular nexus in modern Israel, and Herman Kruk's diaries of the last days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania. We find here condensed yet subtle interpretations of modern Hebrew poems and a comprehensive essay on American poetry in the Yiddish language. Of special importance is the study of the changing formal systems of Hebrew verse from the Bible to the present.

This book is a companion volume to Harshav's Explorations in Poetics, representing his contributions to Israeli literary theory.


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S Y Agnons Only Yesterday
American Poetry in Yiddish and its Background
The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania
On the Beginnings of Israeli Poetry
The Role of Language in Chagalls Early Paintings
Life and Poetry
Bible to Present
Sources of the Chapters

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About the author (2007)

Benjamin Harshav is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Until 1987, he taught at Tel Aviv University, where he established a department of poetics and comparative literature. He is also the founding editor of the journal Poetics Today. His recent books include Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative (Stanford, 2003) and Sing, Stranger: A Century of American Yiddish Poetry A Historical Anthology(Stanford, 2006). He is also the editor of Marc Chagall on Art and Culture(Stanford, 2003).

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