Page 16 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

Basic HTML Version

and who today writes solely in Hebrew, spoke of the tension be­
tween ancient classical Hebrew and the needs of modern life. In
pointing to the constant struggle of the Israeli writer to blend old
and new language usages he reiterated a point which has often
been underscored by contemporary Israeli authors, from
Aharon Megged and Yehuda Amichai to A.B. Yehoshua and
Amos Oz.
It is noteworthy that the pervasiveness of the tension of which
Appelfeld spoke is repeatedly stressed in the articles and reviews
that make up the special section on Israeli literature that ap­
peared in a recent issue of
American Book Review
(vol. 7, no. 3,
March-April 1985). The contributors to the issue who, for the
most part, all live and work in Israel, expressed their concern as
well about the increased political emphasis which has been evi­
denced in contemporary Israeli fiction and poetry.
The Lebanon War brought forth a spate of poetry of protest
which differs markedly in tone from earlier Israeli war poetry.
The Israeli press was full of such poetic outpourings and two
anthologies of such poetry were published. The poets who lent
their talents to the writing of these poems were all united in their
deep sense of indignation and moral outrage over the course of
Indeed, the political realities of Israel were also at the basis of
many fictional works which have subjected Israeli life and Zionist
values to close scrutiny and sharp criticism. The recent collection
of essays by the leading Israeli critic Gershon Shaked, entitled
Ahar Gal Ba-Sipporet Ha-Ivrit
(Wave After Wave in Hebrew
Fiction, Jerusalem, Keter, 1985), fully indicates how the leading
contemporary fiction writers have tried to face up to the many
dilemmas facing Israeli society. Undoubtedly, the dissatisfaction
of many of the liberal writers with the former Likkud regime was
a contributing factor in this regard.
I l l
Space does not permit us to comment as in the past on the indi­
vidual articles that go to make up the present volume of the
We have continued to follow our editorial pattern of solic­
iting informative articles that illumine various facets of our trilin­
gual Jewish literature. Our purview includes not only Jewish lit­
erary creativity in America, but also in Israel and elsewhere. The