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Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 203–224 | Cite as

In the Convoy and Alongside It: A Study of S. Yizhar’s Works on Education and Literature

  • Yuval Jobani
  • Gideon Katz
Article
  • 64 Downloads

Abstract

During his years of silence, S. Yizhar, one of the canonical writers of Modern Hebrew literature, published six books of non-fiction and numerous articles. These writings, which deal mainly with education and literature, are barely mentioned in the diverse and extensive research on Yizhar, which focuses on his fictional works. Through an investigation of his non-fictional writings, this article will seek to shed new light on Yizhar’s position as a cultural critic and on a central issue in his works in general: the tension between the individual and society. The article will suggest three main arguments: 1) There is a significant parallelism between Yizhar’s view on education and his view on literature — namely, just as the internal world of the individual student is constantly threatened by outer forces, so, too, a work of fiction is threatened constantly from without by critics, academic researchers, etc; 2) His claims and the nature of his analysis testify to the fact that he perceives society as an uncontrollable entity that can be neither changed nor understood; 3) Yizhar’s perception of society (and, accordingly, his relation to it) is more complex than what seems to be reflected in his fictional works, at least according to the common readings of them. Yizhar’s world contains not only a vast and impenetrable social framework, but also an interpersonal and intimate sphere, and the distinction between the two is at the foundation of all of his thinking.

Keywords

Education and Literature Modern Hebrew literature Hebrew Culture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Education and Department of Hebrew Culture StudiesTel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.The Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel & ZionismBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael

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