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Bookshelf

2006
Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama
Zamir, Tzachi. Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. Print.
Skin Tight: Apartheid Literary Culture and its Aftermath
Bethlehem, Louise. Skin Tight: Apartheid Literary Culture and its Aftermath. Unisa Press, Brill, 2006. Print.
2004
Shattered Vessels: Memory, Identity, and Creation in the Work of David Shahar
Ron, Moshe, and Michal Ginsburg. Shattered Vessels: Memory, Identity, and Creation in the Work of David Shahar. State University of New York Press (February 26, 2004), 2004. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The first book-length study of the Israeli novelist David Shahar.

David Shahar (1926–1997), author of the seven-novel sequence The Palace of Shattered Vessels, occupies an ambiguous position in the Israeli literary canon. Often compared to Proust, Shahar produced a body of work that offers a fascinating poetic and ideological alternative to the dominant models of Amos Oz and A. B. Yehoshua. This book, the first full-length study of this fascinating author, takes a fresh look at the uniqueness of his literary achievement in both poetic and ideological terms. In addition to situating Shahar within the European literary tradition, the book reads Shahar's representation of Jerusalem in his multi-volume novel as a "heterotopia"—an actual space where society's unconscious (what does not fit on its ideological map) is materially present—and argues for the relevance of Shahar's work to the critical discussion of the Arab question in Israeli culture.

"Ginsburg's and Ron's book is thorough, systematic, and insightful, and it puts Shahar in the context of his Israeli colleagues and the larger arc of European and English fiction. The concluding chapter, which elaborates a brilliant and illuminating comparison of Proust and Shahar, is alone worth the price of admission. I have read Shahar for years with great interest, both in the original Hebrew and in English translation, and learned a great deal from this deft book. It breaks significant new ground both in comparative literature and Israeli fiction." — Murray Baumgarten, author of City Scriptures

"One of the admirable characteristics of David Shahar's narratives is their capacity to both dexterously and elegantly interweave aesthetic/artistic merits with a cogently persuasive ideological creed. This book does justice to those two interlaced routes in Shahar's work while discerning and tracing them prudently and insightfully." — Yair Mazor, author ofSomber Lust: The Art of Amos Oz

Aharon Appelfeld's Fiction: Acknowledging the Holocaust.
Budick, Emily Miller. Aharon Appelfeld's Fiction: Acknowledging the Holocaust. 2004. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

How can a fictional text adequately or meaningfully represent the events of the Holocaust? Drawing on philosopher Stanley Cavell’s ideas about "acknowledgment" as a respectful attentiveness to the world, Emily Miller Budick develops a penetrating philosophical analysis of major works by internationally prominent Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld. Through sensitive discussions of the novels Badenheim 1939, The Iron Tracks, The Age of Wonders, and Tzili, and the autobiographical work The Story of My Life, Budick reveals the compelling art with which Appelfeld renders the sights, sensations, and experiences of European Jewish life preceding, during, and after the Second World War. She argues that it is through acknowledging the incompleteness of our knowledge and understanding of the catastrophe that Appelfeld’s fiction produces not only its stunning aesthetic power but its affirmation and faith in both the human and the divine. This beautifully written book provides a moving introduction to the work of an important and powerful writer and an enlightening meditation on how fictional texts deepen our understanding of historical events.

Jewish Literature and Culture―Alvin H. Rosenfeld, editor

The Cambridge History of American Literature
Wolosky, Shira. The Cambridge History of American Literature. 2004. Print.
Major Voices in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Poetry
Wolosky, Shira. Major Voices in Nineteenth-Century American Women's Poetry. Toby Press, 2004. Print.
Partial Answers
Toker, Leona. Partial Answers. 2004. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Partial Answers a semiannual journal, Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, edited by the English Department's Professor Leona Toker

2002
Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics
Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith. Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.Abstract

What is a narrative? What is narrative fiction? How does it differ from other kinds of narrative? What featuers turn a discourse into a narrative text? Now widely acknowledged as one of the most significant volumes in its field, Narrative Fiction turns its attention to these and other questions.

The Art of Poetry
Wolosky, Shira. The Art of Poetry. 2nd ed. 2002. Print.
2001
South Africa in the Global Imaginary
de Kock, Leon, and Louise Bethlehem. South Africa in the Global Imaginary. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001. Print.Abstract

 

This special issue of Poetics Today explores the development of a South African literary identity in the face of its staggering cultural, historical, and linguistic diversity. The collection uses the idea of the "global imaginary" to explore the ways the outside world has constructed ideas about South African literature as well as the way South Africans themselves have fashioned their literary selfhood. Articles address the legacy of colonialism and apartheid and wrestle with the fact that in spite of the fact that there are eleven official languages in South Africa and that many of the cultures have historically relied on an oral tradition, the dominant works continue to be those that are written down, in English. As de Kock writes in his introduction, the collection "raises a multiplicity of questions about the colonization of culture." There has been a "trope of binary pairing," he writes, between white and black, civilized and backward, home and exile, colonizer and colonized, which obscures the richness and complexity of the South African literary tradition. This collection promises to at least begin to correct that oversimplification.

Contributors: Louise Bethlehem, Jonathan Crewe, Dirk Klopper, Leon de Kock, Loren Kruger, Sonja Laden, Simon Lewis, Peter Merrington, Patricia Watson Shariff, Pippa Skotnes

Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature
Budick, Emily Miller. Ideology and Jewish Identity in Israeli and American Literature. 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Israeli and American critics debate what constitutes Jewish identity in modern Jewish literature.

Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors.
Toker, Leona. Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Return from the Archipelago is the first comprehensive historical survey and critical analysis of the vast body of narrative literature about the Soviet gulag. Leona Toker organizes and characterizes both fictional narratives and survivors’ memoirs as she explores the changing hallmarks of the genre from the 1920s through the Gorbachev era. Toker reflects on the writings and testimonies that shed light on the veiled aspects of totalitarianism, dehumanization, and atrocity. Identifying key themes that recur in the narratives-arrest, the stages of trial, imprisonment, labor camps, exile, escapes, special punishment, the role of chance, and deprivation.Toker discusses the historical, political, and social contexts of these accounts and the ethical and aesthetic imperative they fulfill. Her readings provide extraordinary insight into the prisoners’ experiences of the Soviet penal system. Special attention is devoted to the writings of Varlam Shalamov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, but many works that are not well known in the West, especially those by women, are addressed. Consideration is also given to events that recently brought many memoirs to light years after they were written. A pioneering book on an important subject, Return from the Archipelago is an authoritative resource for scholars in Russian history and literature.

2000
The Western Theory of Tradition: Terms and Paradigms of the Cultural Sublime
Budick, Sanford. The Western Theory of Tradition: Terms and Paradigms of the Cultural Sublime. New Haven: Yale Press, 2000. Print.
Once Below a Time
Wardi, Eynel. Once Below a Time. New York: SUNY, 2000. Print.Abstract

Highly original and theoretically wide-ranging, this book offers new insights into the origins of poetry. Working with much of the significant primary and secondary literature in psychoanalysis, particularly the theories of Julia Kristeva, the book skillfully sketches out a psychoanalytically enhanced theory of poetics through close readings of the works of Dylan Thomas. Through an intense dialogue with pivotal poems, it offers a "subjectivist" theory of poetic language, one that focuses on the interrelation between meaning and subjectivity in the dynamics of the poetic text. In this scheme, the "genesis of the speaking subject" is held to be a reenactment of old and new fantasies of origins, the reality of which is inaccessible to us--buried, as it were, "below time." Among these fantasies, the author also recognizes the psychoanalytic fantasy of origins that guides her own project. 

Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period
Whitman, Jon. Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period. Brill, 2000. Print.Abstract

This major investigation of the theory and practice of interpretation is unparalleled in design. Concentrating on interpretive allegory, its interdisciplinary approach simultaneously opens and organizes new perspectives on historic developments - from pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic commentaries to postmodern critiques. Interpretation and Allegory: Antiquity to the Modern Period is the recipient of The Polonsky Foundation 2001 Award for Contributions to Interdisciplinary Study in the Humanities. This publication has also been published in paperback, please click here for details.

1999
Dickens: The Orphan Condition
Hochman, Baruch. Dickens: The Orphan Condition. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999. Print.Abstract

This volume presents a global reading of Dicken's work. It closely analyzes five of Dicken's novels--Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations. Emphasis is on the moral vision and the imaginative splendor that spring from Dickens's struggle with the stresses of abandonment.

Lacan and the Matter of Origins
Barzilai, Shuli. Lacan and the Matter of Origins. 1999. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

acan and the Matter of Origins traces the development of Lacan's thinking about the role of the mother in psychical formation. It examines the conceptual struggle throughout his work over issues of maternal agency in relation to the constitution of human subjectivity, and the theoretical, historical, and autobiographical reasons for this struggle. Lacan is widely held to emphasize the paternal dimension of human subjectivity and the phallic signifier. This book demonstrates that the mother occupies a crucial position in the Lacanian project, even if the maternal relation is not systematically theorized. The maternal figure appears as a Cheshire Cat who fades away and reappears at different times.

1998
Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation
Budick, Emily Miller. Blacks and Jews in Literary Conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Print.Abstract

In an attempt to lend a more nuanced ear to the ongoing dialogue between African and Jewish Americans, Emily Budick examines the works of a range of writers, critics, and academics from the 1950s through the 1980s. This study records conversations both explicit, such as essays and letters, and indirect, such as the fiction of Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Alice Walker, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin. The purpose is to understand how this dialogue has engendered misperceptions and misunderstandings, and how blacks and Jews in America have both sought and resisted assimilation.

Chaucer's Biblical Poetics
Besserman, Lawrence. Chaucer's Biblical Poetics. 1998. Web. Publisher's Version
1997
Rereading Texts / Rethinking Critical Presuppositions
Rimon-Kenan, Shlomith, Leona Toker, and Shuli Barzilai. Rereading Texts / Rethinking Critical Presuppositions. Peter Lang Pub Inc (January 1997), 1997. Web. Publisher's VersionAbstract

he essays in this collection combine fresh interpretations of well known literary texts by leading critics (such as Frank Kermode, Sandra Gilbert, J. Hillis Miller, Barbara Hardy, Tony Tanner, and many others), those critics' retrospective thinking about their individual professional development, and an implicit communal reflection on changes on the critical and cultural scene of our times. It shows a transition from closed systems to more open configurations and from a view of texts as autonomous to complex interactions between text and context. Within the latter framework, ethical, social, ideological, political (feminist, post-colonial), psychoanalytic, and biographical dimensions of various texts are explored.