Under this Blazing Light

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Overview

"Perhaps most of the essays in this book are substitutes for stories that I have not managed to write," says Amos Oz in the preface to Under This Blazing Light. Published for the first time in English, this collection of essays reveals the personal and political thoughts of Israel's most celebrated novelist. The essays in this volume put a unique perspective on the author's own experiences and development, and reveal a complex and deeply human figure of practical political influence as well as of significant literary stature. Oz's refreshing blend of skepticism and idealism will win for him new readers, while delighting those who will recognize here the qualities evident in his other writings. Relevant in light of recent developments in the Middle East, the topics covered include an examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute between "Right and Right"; a look at the meaning of socialism in the Israeli context; reflections on the concept of "Homeland" and on the nature of the Kibbutz; and reflections on the character of Zionism. The essays also include portraits of several Jewish writers and thinkers whose ideas and themes in one way or another have proved influential or determinative for Amos Oz himself. Amos Oz is widely considered to be Israel's most famous living writer. His fifteen books include My Michael, Touch the Water, Touch the Wind, In the Land of Israel, Black Box, To Know a Woman, and Fima. His work has been translated into twenty-nine languages, and he has received several major literary awards. He is currently a Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at Ben-Gurion University.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a highly illuminating perspective on Zionism, Socialism, Judaism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...these insightful essays from a major Israeli author are long overdue. Highly recommended..." Library Journal

"...Oz reveals the prescience of his early political, literary, and philosophical views, which recent events have shown to be remarkably clear sighted." Reform Judaism

"Under This Blazing Light by Amos Oz is a wondrous collection of essays that brilliantly reveal to us the heart and mind of one of the great writers of our time." Chaim Potok

"Though written in the 1960s and '70s, these searching essays by Israeli novelist and peace activist Oz are remarkably fresh and timely." Publishers Weekly

"Adapted from articles, interviews, and lectures from the 1960s and 70s, this is a provocative collection on Israeli society by one of the country's foremost novelists....Whether these musings touch upon the kibbutz, Israeli literature, or his early years in Jerusalem, Oz captivates the reader with his elegantly poetic voice." Kirkus Reviews

"Although these essays were written in the 1960s and 1970s, the fears expressed in them still exist, but the hopes they describe now seem a little closer to reality." Booklist

"This collection of political, personal and literary pieces by one of Israel's most celebrated novelists is an unmitigated delight...Oz gives us a discreet and charming collection of his writings." Ben Ishtov, Jewish Frontier

"By critiquing several well-known Jewish writers and thinkers, Oz gives the reader an insight into the influences on his frame of mind...while providing a highly illuminating perspective on Zionism, Socialism, Judaism, and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict...these useful essays from a major Israeli author are long overdue. Highly recommended for previous fans..." Charles A. Weiss, Library Journal

"...the essays present Oz's spellbinding versatility in an attractive and large enough manner to include most of his esthetic and intellectual merits." Yair Mazor, World Literature Today

"This collection of essays reveals the personal and political thoughts of Israel's novelist and give perspective to the author's own experiences and development." Shofar

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Though written in the 1960s and '70s, these searching essays by Israeli novelist and peace activist Oz are remarkably fresh and timely. Viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a clash between "right and right," that is, between the legitimate claims of two peoples for the same land, Oz urges compromise and a gradual, two-state solution. He enthusiastically describes his own experience living on a kibbutz, which he calls a unique attempt to reconstruct the extended family. In a revealing autobiographical sketch, Oz, born in Jerusalem in 1939, writes affectingly of growing up in Israel, of his mother's 1952 suicide and of his Russian-born businessman/poet grandfather, who moved to Palestine in 1933. Along with musings on what he calls the true themes of literature-sorrow, suffering, protest, complaint, consolation-Oz profiles Jewish writers and activists, among them Zionist Labor leader Aharon Gordon and Micha Berdyczew-ski, whose stories, written in Hebrew, are peopled by demigods, spirits and demons. In an introduction written in 1993, Oz calls for a "Marshall Plan for the Middle East" to resettle Palestinian and Soviet Jewish refugees and to create a prosperous region.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though written in the 1960s and '70s, these searching essays by Israeli novelist and peace activist Oz are remarkably fresh and timely. Viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a clash between ``right and right,'' that is, between the legitimate claims of two peoples for the same land, Oz urges compromise and a gradual, two-state solution. He enthusiastically describes his own experience living on a kibbutz, which he calls a unique attempt to reconstruct the extended family. In a revealing autobiographical sketch, Oz, born in Jerusalem in 1939, writes affectingly of growing up in Israel, of his mother's 1952 suicide and of his Russian-born businessman/poet grandfather, who moved to Palestine in 1933. Along with musings on what he calls the true themes of literature-sorrow, suffering, protest, complaint, consolation-Oz profiles Jewish writers and activists, among them Zionist Labor leader Aharon Gordon and Micha Berdyczew-ski, whose stories, written in Hebrew, are peopled by demigods, spirits and demons. In an introduction written in 1993, Oz calls for a ``Marshall Plan for the Middle East'' to resettle Palestinian and Soviet Jewish refugees and to create a prosperous region. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Translated into English for the first time, these essays by Oz (Fima, LJ 10/15/93) tackle certain difficult political and philosophical issues in a surprisingly smooth and sober manner. By critiquing several well-known Jewish writers and thinkers, Oz gives the reader an insight into the influences on his frame of mind-cantankerous and cynical though it may be-while providing a highly illuminating perspective on Zionism, Socialism, Judaism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. True, he presents an unoriginal if thankfully unskewed vision of why a Jew is "someone who chooses to share the fate of other Jews, or who is condemned to do so." In a similar burst of capitulation, he remarks of the kibbutz: "It is the least bad place I have ever seen. And the most daring effort." Nevertheless, these insightful essays from a major Israeli author are long overdue. Highly recommended for previous fans, as well as collections on Judaica and the Middle East controversies.-Charles A. Weiss, formerly with "Library Journal"
George Cohen
Jewish writer Amos Oz has become a highly vocal activist for peace between Israelis and Arabs, working toward reconciliation between the two factions. In the introduction to the English edition of this book of essays, Oz states that the "Israelis and Palestinians are today sending a resounding message to every agonized corner of the earth: if we can compromise with each other and turn our backs to violence despite 100 years of sound and fury, is peace not possible between all deadly enemies in the world?" The essays focus on two themes, the painful route of peace and compromise between Israel and the Arab world and the story of the revival of the Hebrew language and its literature. He goes on to say that the theme of this book, therefore, is the theme of renewal. Although these essays were written in the 1960s and 1970s, the fears expressed in them still exist, but the hopes they describe now seem a little closer to reality.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521443678
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; Events and books; Under This Blazing Light; 'Man is the sum total of all the sin and fire pent up in his bones'; 'A ridiculous miracle hanging over our heads'; The State as reprisal; A modest attempt to set out a theory; The meaning of homeland; The discreet charm of Zionism; A. D. Gordon today; Thoughts on the kibbutz; The kibbutz at the present time; How to be a socialist; Munia Mandel's secret language; Pinhas Lavon; The lost garden; An autobiographical note; An alien city; Like a gangster on the night of the long knives, but somewhat in a dream; Notes; Publication history; Index.
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