The term neo-Zionism can be used to group ideologically much of contemporary Hebrew literature. However, since neo-Zionism shares similar critical tools with post-Zionism, while also sharing a common political vision with Zionism, it has been difficult to find the definitive signifiers of neo-Zionist writing. This paper offers a way to determine the nuanced ideological inclination of Hebrew literature: the presentation of time. First, this paper recognizes the metamorphosis of time in Israeli literary history that reflects the writers’ historical view of the Zionist agenda. Zionist Hebrew literature was engaged in re-establishing Jewish historical time by emphasizing the relationship between time and events. Post-Zionist writers fragmented, subverted, or eliminated historical time in their works to loosen the commitment to historical specificity. In the neo-Zionist literary generation, timelines are reassembled as the writers try to reinterpret the Zionist ideology that shapes the person, the nation, and the relationship between the two. Erich Auerbach’s observation that the Old Testament introduced realist writing to Western literature suggests two benchmarks to read neo-Zionist literature as realist writing: the first one is the writers’ moral duty and sense of responsibility to write reality; the second is the restoration of the omniscient narrator. This article uses these two parameters to further interpret the neo-Zionist historical narrative.
"Playing with Time: Writing History in Neo-Zionist Hebrew Literature."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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