The Legacy of a Writer in Israel and Beyond
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Explores the writer's enduring literary and political legacy.
The veteran contributors to this volume take as their central drama, and their essential task for analysis, the enduring literary and political legacy of Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz (1939–2019). Born a decade prior to the establishment of the state of Israel, in what was then Palestine under British rule, Oz's life spanned the country's entire history, and both his fiction and nonfiction restlessly probe and illuminate its fraught conflicts, contradictions, and ambivalences. Throughout his career, Oz grappled frankly with the often-painful realities of Israeli life while also celebrating the ebullience of the Israeli spirit, and his sophisticated understanding of the sociopolitical turmoil of his society was always accompanied by intensely lyrical language and deep penetrations into the vulnerabilities of the human psyche. The volume's twenty contributors bring an exciting diversity of concerns and perspectives to Oz's most celebrated novels (including his powerfully resonant final novel, Judas) as well as to overlooked facets of his oeuvre, illuminating the breathtaking scope of his literary legacy. Together, they offer gripping analyses of his urgent and profoundly universal works about political and romantic dreamers whose heartfelt struggles with both their own human frailties and those of the state ultimately resonate far beyond Israel itself.
Ranen Omer-Sherman is Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence Endowed Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of Louisville. His previous books include Imagining Kibbutz: Visions of Utopia in Literature and Film and Israel in Exile: Jewish Writing and the Desert.
"This important and timely volume addresses a lacuna in English criticism on Amos Oz, an author not only central in Israeli culture since the 1960s but also prominently positioned within the mode of world literature. The contributors offer a wide range of approaches to and engagements with Oz, from the scholarly to the personal. They invite us to consider Oz as a masterful author, an eloquent political commentator, and a complex human being." — Karen Grumberg, author of Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution
"This book reveals Amos Oz's extraordinary oeuvre. Ranen Omer-Sherman takes us on a mesmerizing scholarly journey between different periods and topics in Oz's work. This rich collection of articles does not escape the controversy around the work of Oz, but it rather leverages it into a brave, blunt, and uncompromising discussion not only about Oz's writing but also about Israeli society and the political power of literature. For those of us who are familiar with Oz's novels, this is an invaluable opportunity to reencounter them through the new readings offered in this collection, and for those who are less familiar with his work, this is a unique and festive invitation to enter the complex and rich world of one of the most influential novelists of modern Hebrew literature." — Ilana Szobel, author of Flesh of My Flesh: Sexual Violence in Modern Hebrew Literature
"In chapter after chapter of this collection of essays about Amos Oz, I found myself surprised and excited to encounter a refreshing new array of insights into the life and legacy of this familiar cultural icon. This English-language North American perspective is bound to open up new opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue." — Yael Halevi-Wise, author of The Retrospective Imagination of A. B. Yehoshua