Nitzan Lebovic claims that political melancholy is the defining trait of a generation of Israelis born between the 1960s and 1990s. This cohort came of age during wars, occupation and intifada, cultural conflict, and the failure of the Oslo Accords. The atmosphere of militarism and conservative state politics left little room for democratic opposition or dissent. Lebovic and others depict the failure to respond not only as a result of institutional pressure but as the effect of a long-lasting "left-wing melancholy." In order to understand its grip on Israeli society, Lebovic turns to the novels and short stories of Israel Zarchi. For him, Zarchi aptly describes the gap between the utopian hope present in Zionism since its early days and the melancholic reality of the present. Through personal engagement with Zarchi, Lebovic develops a philosophy of melancholy and shows how it pervades Israeli society.
About the Author
Nitzan Lebovic is Associate Professor of History and Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values at Lehigh University. He is author of The Philosophy of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the Rise of a Nazi Biopolitics, the editor (with Roy Ben-Shai) of The Politics of Nihilism: From the Nineteenth Century to Contemporary Israel, and editor (with Andreas Killen) of Catastrophes: A History of an Operative Concept.
Table of Contents
List of Israel Zarchi's Works under Discussion
1. The History of a Failure
2. The Early Novels
3. Jerusalem, Messianism, Emptiness
4. Political Theology and Left-Wing Melancholy
5. In an Unsown Land
6. The History and Theory of the Melancholic Discourse
7. The Revival of Hebrew: Utopia, Indistinction, Recurrence
What People are Saying About This
A truly original work that engages the pervasive condition of melancholy facing many progressive and left-wing artists, thinkers, scholars, and political actors. The short life of Israel Zarchi becomes the vehicle by which Nitzan Lebovic interrogates the demands, implications, and surprising virtues of the melancholic in the present."
Through Lebovic's gripping account we gain a sense of intimacy and a deep understanding of the Zarchi the man and Zarchi the author. ... The work is fundamentally and thoroughly interdisciplinary, moving deftly between intellectual history, literary studies, political philosophy, and psychoanalysis, to name the most important coordinates on Lebovic's map.
A truly original work that engages the pervasive condition of melancholy facing many progressive and left-wing artists, thinkers, scholars, and political actors. The short life of Israel Zarchi becomes the vehicle by which Nitzan Lebovic interrogates the demands, implications, and surprising virtues of the melancholic in the present.
A splendid text, learned and diligent, but not without resourcefulness of language. It's a scholarly work that is written like a melancholic novella.