AUSTIN, Texas—New components in Israeli literature, including the growing role of women writers, will be the topic of a lecture April 6 at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Straining at the Leash: New Directions in Israeli Fiction,” will be given by Dr. Leon Yudkin of University College, London. The talk, which is open and free to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. in the Dean’s Room in Rainey Hall just east of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. The event marks the 22nd lecture of the Gale Chair Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings renowned scholars of Jewish studies to speak at UT Austin.
Yudkin, a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at University College, is the author of numerous books on Israeli literature, including a book on Hebrew literature in the wake of the Holocaust. He also has been director of an ongoing international workshop on the teaching of Hebrew literature in translation since 1986 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
“Dr. Yudkin will present a distinct vision of modern avant-garde Israeli literature,” said Dr. Seth Wolitz, who holds the Gale Chair in Jewish Studies at UT Austin. “He will not only stress the role of women writers, but also the growing importance and significant contribution of the Israelis of Sephardic origin (Jews of the Mediterranean basin, those originally expelled from Spain in 1492 and the Jews of the Muslim countries), as well as Arab Israeli citizens.
“The lecture will unveil the full rich panoply of new Israeli writings and the brand new directions and literary techniques.”
According to Yudkin, there is a different, less available tendency now becoming manifest in Israeli fiction. “This is expressed — not as is the case with the prevalent thrust of Israeli fiction — by the entrenched, male, Labour-voting, dissident Zionist, Westernized, publicly oriented, Israeli view,” Yudkin said. “A new private and personal centre lies at the heart of much new Israeli fiction, less publicized, not so much translated, often produced by female authors, offering a radical reorientation of concern.”
This, along with Sephardic and Arab work (written in Hebrew), constitutes another side of a rich literature, more diverse than is generally appreciated, said the scholar. The recent work of Shifra Horn, Ronit Matalon, Anton Shamas, Haim Beer, Yuval Shimoni and others will be discussed.