Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
Yehuda Amichai is one of the twentieth century’s (and Israel’s) leading poets. In this remarkable book, Gold offers a profound reinterpretation of Amichai’s early works, using two sets of untapped materials: notes and notebooks written by Amichai in Hebrew and German that are now preserved in the Beinecke archive at Yale, and a cache of ninety-eight as-yet unpublished letters written by Amichai in 1947 and 1948 to a woman identified in the book as Ruth Z., which were recently discovered by Gold.
Gold found irrefutable evidence in the Yale archive and the letters to Ruth Z. that allows her to make two startling claims. First, she shows that in order to remake himself as an Israeli soldier-citizen and poet, Amichai suppressed (“camouflaged”) his German past and German mother tongue both in reference to his biography and in his poetry. Yet, as her close readings of his published oeuvre as well as his unpublished German and Hebrew notes at the Beinecke show, these texts harbor the linguistic residue of his European origins. Gold, who knows both Hebrew and German, establishes that the poet’s German past infused every area of his work, despite his attempts to conceal it in the process of adopting a completely Israeli identity.
Gold’s second claim is that Amichai somewhat disguised the story of his own development as a poet. According to Amichai’s own accounts, Israel’s war of independence was the impetus for his creative writing. Long accepted as fact, Gold proves that this poetic biography is far from complete. By analyzing Amichai’s letters and reconstructing his relationship with Ruth Z., Gold reveals what was really happening in the poet’s life and verse at the end of the 1940s. These letters demonstrate that the chronological order in which Amichai’s works were published does not reflect the order in which they were written; rather, it was a product of the poet’s literary and national motivations.
|Publisher:||Brandeis University Press|
|Series:||Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry & The Schusterman Series in Israel Studies|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||3 MB|
About the Author
Table of ContentsPreface
Introduction: Camouflage as the Key to the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai
Childhood in Wuerzburg: A Dubious Paradise
The Murky Mirror of Wuerzburg in Amichai’s Work
Hiding between the Languages: The German Mother Tongue in Amichai’s Universe
Growing Up in Palestine
“And the Migration of My Parents Has Not Subsided in Me”
The Love Story
The Literary Legacy of the Love Story: “Binyamina, 1947” and “We Loved Here”
The Lovers in the Public Garden
The Haifa Letters: The Making of an Israeli
The Making of a National Poet
Conclusion: Retrieving the Abandoned Landmarks
Appendix A: Texts of Poems Discussed in Their Entirety
Appendix B: Map of Wuerzburg and Legend
What People are Saying About This
“With the help of a treasure trove of retrieved love letters, Nili Scharf Gold has changed the landscape for understanding the poetry of Yehuda Amichai. Gold demonstrates in exquisite detail the extent to which "Israel's National Poet" camouflaged the German childhood that continued to haunt him.”
“The integrity of Nili Gold’s research shines out of every page of this book. She has spent many years trying to find new sources that would lead to a better understanding of the life and work of Yehuda Amichaiand she has found them, caches of marvelously revealing letters and manuscripts. But Yehuda Amichai is more than a monument of scrupulous research, it is filled with brilliant insights into Amichai’s interior world and into his poetry. In this book, Nili Gold sheds new light not only on the life and work of this great poet but on the very nature of poetry itself.”
“This brilliant and inspiring study of the formative years of the great Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai, deepens and broadens the genre of literary monograph. Nili Gold offers an impassioned and insightful reading that seamlessly merges the story of one individuala budding poetwith the story of a people during a decisive chapter in their national history. This book is a must for scholars of literature, for everyday lovers of poetry, and for anyone with an abiding interest in the State of Israel.”
“Gold has accomplished one of the most innovative studies in many years of the poetry of Amichai by uncovering the European roots of this central, widely read and much translated Israeli author. In doing so, she opens the way for other similar studies of the European background of Israeli writing. Her book will be indispensable for all future studies of Amichai's poetry.”