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Translating Israel
Contemporary Hebrew Literature and Its Reception in America

Alan L. Mintz

Cloth $39.95L    |    0-8156-2899-4    |   2001

Paper $19.95s    |    0-8156-2900-1    |   2001

Reflects the rise of literature in modern-day Israel and the problematic reception of literature in America and within the American Jewish community.

"This volume consists of a collection of pieces written by the author over a period of more than two decades during which he has presented modern Hebrew literature to an American audience. His interpretive essays have appeared in such diverse venues as The New Republic, Commentary, and Partisan Review, and these scattered fruits, as well as pieces excerpted from his books, are gathered here for the benefit of those seeking penetrating insights into Israeli literature. . . . Mintz’s work represents an extension of the recovery efforts he so evocatively documents in the authors he studies. Agnon, for example, sought to preserve the beauty and richness of Eastern European Jewish culture; Mintz similarly wants to erect signpost to aid American reader in understanding Israeli literature, This encounter can at times be uncomfortable, but postponing it may lead to the further drifting apart the two centers of modern Jewish experience, a drifting that could ultimately result in a diminished level of cultural cross-pollination and other ‘lost books.’ "
dash Shofar

Israeli literature provides a unique lens for viewing the inner dynamics of this small but critically important society. In addition, its leading writers such as S. Y. Agnon, Yehuda Amichai, Amos Oz, and A. B. Yehoshua, among others, are recognized internationally as major world literary figures. Despite this international recognition, the rich literary tradition of Israeli literature has failed to reverberate and find significant readership or a following in America even among the American Jewish community.

Alan L. Mintz traces the reception of Israeli literature in America from the 1970s to the present. He analyzes the influences that have shaped modern Israeli literature and reflects on the cultural differences that have impeded American and American Jewish appreciation of Israeli authors. Mintz then turns his attention to specific writers, examining their reception or lack thereof in America and places them within the emerging unfolding critical dialogue between the Israeli and American literary culture.

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Alan Mintz is professor of Hebrew literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He has served as the coeditor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History and is the author of Hurban: Responses to Catastrophe in Hebrew Literature, also published by Syracuse University Press.

6 x 9, 256 pages, notes

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