Since 1948

Israeli Literature in the Making

Edited by Nancy E. Berg & Naomi B. Sokoloff

Subjects: Israel Studies, Literature, Middle East Studies, Jewish Studies, Literary Criticism
Series: SUNY series in Contemporary Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9781438480480, 306 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438480497, 306 pages, September 2020

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Under Construction: A Kind of Festschrift for Israeli Literature
Nancy E. Berg and Naomi B. Sokoloff

Part One: Through Time: Silences, Voices, Echoes

Not One, but Five Moments of Silence: On the Poetics and Politics of Asking for Silence
Eran Tzelgov

Sounding the Mizrachi Voice: Hafla Thematics from the Ma'abarah to the Post‑Arabic Novel
Michal Raizen

Anthological Poetics: Reading Amichai and Halfi in Liberal Prayerbooks
Wendy I. Zierler

Part Two: Across Language and Territory: Literature and Identity

When Yiddish Was Young in IsraelShachar PinskerA Canaanite Story: Language, National Identity, and the 1948 War
Yael Dekel

Hebrew Unbound: Alternative Homelands in the New World
Melissa Weininger

Part Three: Between the Lines: Rethinking Genres

From Here to Elsewhere and Back in Israeli‑Hebrew Children's Literature
Shai Ginsburg

"The pigs were my best friends": Animals and the Holocaust in Alona Frankel's Memoirs
Naomi B. Sokoloff

Stalagim: At the Limits of Israeli Literature
Eric Zakim

Part Four: Concerning Canons

Disruptive Nativity: The Poetry of Rina Shani and the Sixties in Israel
Riki Traum

Asaf Schurr and the Critique of Postmodernism in Contemporary Hebrew Literature
Yaron Peleg

"And the Winner Is . . . ": The Economy of Literary Awards
Nancy E. Berg

Appendix: A Canaanite Story: "The Lord Be Praised"
Eitan Notev

On Our Bookshelf

A portrait of Israeli literature in its full transnational and multilingual complexity.


2021 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Toward the end of the twentieth century, an unprecedented surge of writing altered the Israeli literary scene in profound ways. As fresh creative voices and multiple languages vied for recognition, diversity replaced consensus. Genres once accorded lower status—such as the graphic novel and science fiction—gained readership and positive critical notice. These trends ushered in not only the discovery and recovery of literary works but also a major rethinking of literary history. In Since 1948, scholars consider how recent voices have succeeded older ones and reverberated in concert with them; how linguistic and geographical boundaries have blurred; how genres have shifted; and how canon and competition have shaped Israeli culture. Charting surprising trajectories of a vibrant, challenging, and dynamic literature, the contributors analyze texts composed in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic; by Jews and non-Jews; and by Israelis abroad as well as writers in Israel. What emerges is a portrait of Israeli literature as neither minor nor regional, but rather as transnational, multilingual, and worthy of international attention.

Nancy E. Berg is Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her previous books include Exile from Exile: Israeli Writers from Iraq,, also published by SUNY Press. Naomi B. Sokoloff is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. Her previous books include Imagining the Child in Modern Jewish Fiction. Together, Berg and Sokoloff are the coeditors of What We Talk about When We Talk about Hebrew (and What It Means to Americans), winner of the National Jewish Book Award for anthologies and collections.


"Berg and Sokoloff make a heroic effort to address the complexities of Israeli literature since 1948, the founding year of the State of Israel. " — CHOICE

"A principal strength of the volume lies in its conversational foundation … The possible conversations between essays that a reader may envision are likely to constitute a worthwhile exercise, whether they are broad and deep or limited in scope. " — Hebrew Higher Education

"Since 1948 is an in many ways illuminating collection of essays on Israeli literature that broadens and deepens our understanding of the subject. " — Fathom

"The extensive introduction does a great job of scanning the various stages in the development of Israeli literature and devises a new periodization of this rich corpus using original criteria. The book as a whole presents a strong overall view of this body of literature without becoming encyclopedic, attempting to begin a process of canonization. Furthermore, while this book speaks of the margins, it also considers the central narrative and works to redefine both. " — Nili Gold, author of Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel's National Poet