The Writing of Yehuda Amichai

A Thematic Approach

By Glenda Abramson

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780887069956, 254 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780887069949, 254 pages, July 1989

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Table of contents



1. Biography and Autobiography

"This is the Story of Dust" (Eileh toldot ha-avak)

"Since Then" (Me-az)

2. Allusion and Irony

"And This Is Your Praise" (Vehi tehillatekha)

"How Beautiful Are Thy Tents, O Jacob" (Mah tovu ohaleikha ya'akov)

"Young David" (David hatza'ir)

3. The Father and God

"A Second Meeting with My Father" (Pegishah sheniyah 'im avi)

4. Alienation and Fragmentation

"Poems of the Heat" — 6 (Shirei sharav — 6)

"I Write from Right to Left" (Ani kotev miyemin lesmol)

"The Place I've Never Been To" (Hamakom shelo hayiti bo)

5. The Love Poetry

"At Night Our Room Is Sealed" (Uvaleilot hadrenu ne-etam)

"Poems of Akhziv" — 10 (Shirei akhziv — 10)

"Again" (Od pa'am)

6. Jerusalem

"Jerusalem, 1967" (Yerushalayim 1967)

"Songs of Zion, Jerusalem" (Shirei eretz tziyon yerushalayim)


7. Not of This Time, Not of This Place

(Lo me'akshav, lo mikan)

8. The Short Stories

In This Terrible Wind (Baruah hanora-ah hazot)


9. The Stage Plays

"No Man's Land" (Shetah shel hefker)

Journey to Nineveh (Masa' leninveh)






Yehuda Amichai is an Israeli poet of international distinction. Known as Israel's "master poet," Amichai conveys a portrait of life in modern Israel, summarizing and reflecting all the major preoccupations of his generation. Unlike most of his Israeli contemporaries he explores the alteration of Jewish perspectives, the loss of religious orthodoxy and the nature of Jewish identity in the mid-20th century. He illuminates the dislocation of Jewish life after the Holocaust and the dilemma of response on the part of young Israelis. His poetic language is rich in figuration and laced with quotations from classical Jewish texts which he manipulates into ironic discourse with the problems of the present. Echoing the 17th-century metaphysical poets, Amichai's writing reveals a tussle between physical love and spirituality; its tension lies in his failure to synthesize both in religious faith.

Abramson presents a detailed critical description and thematic analysis of Amichai's work, with reference to the historical background from which it has emerged. The problems of an emerging national culture are seen subjectively through the eyes of one of its most sensitive and perceptive literary observers.

Glenda Abramson is Teacher of modern Hebrew literature at the University of Oxford; Schreiber Fellow in Modern Jewish Studies, Oxford Center for Hebrew Studies; and Senior Research Fellow, St. Cross College, Oxford University


"This is a solid and competent piece of scholarship. " — Naomi Sokoloff, University of Washington

"It seems to me that Dr. Abramson treats her subject with enviable intelligence and authority. In my judgment, she has produced a work of distinction. " — Stanley F. Chyet, Hebrew Union College