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A Poetics of Trauma
The Work of Dahlia Ravikovitch
Ilana Szobel

HBI Series on Jewish Women
Schusterman Series in Israel Studies
2013 • 198 pp. 6 illus. 6 x 9"
Jewish Literary Criticism / Poetry Criticism / History of Israel & Palestine

$35.00 Paperback, 978-1-61168-355-4
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-61168-354-7

$34.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-356-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)

“In her theoretical analysis of the poetics of trauma and the politics of victimhood, Szobel focuses on the female character’s permanent victimhood in four aspects of identity formation—orphanhood, estrangement, madness, and national identity. In so doing, she creates a deviant form of subjectivity in a major departure from the Zionist expectation of healing from trauma and progression to recovery and revival. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice

Astute analysis of the work of a great Israeli poet through the lens of psychoanalysis, gender, nationalism, and trauma theory

The work of the renowned Israeli poet, translator, peace activist, and 1998 Israel Prize laureate Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936–2005) portrays the emotional structure of a traumatized and victimized female character. Ilana Szobel’s book, the first full-length study of Ravikovitch in English, offers a theoretical discussion of the poetics of trauma and the politics of victimhood, as well as a rethinking of the notions of activity and passivity, strength and weakness. Analyzing the deep structure embodied in Ravikovitch’s work, Szobel unearths the interconnectedness of Ravikovitch’s private-poetic subjectivity and Israeli national identity, and shows how her unique poetics can help readers overcome cultural biases and sympathetically engage otherness.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

"A Poetics of Trauma pays a thoughtful tribute to a passionate and unique literary voice whose works should not be forgotten."—Jewish Book World

"Ilana Szobel's A Poetics of Trauma gives the English-reading audience tools with which to begin a serious engagement with a poet who is just coming to be read in English." —Nashim

“With this study, Szobel offers a theoretically rigorous and compelling introduction to Ravikovitch’s work, with each section suggesting various strands for future research on the poet. She builds a convincing case for an understanding of Ravikovitch’s trauma that is not, to paraphrase her, “trapped in binary terms or in a biological reading, but rather one that highlights and creates spaces of textual and cultural interrelation, where sites of conflict activate and engage.” —Hebrew Studies

“Scholars of Modern Hebrew literature all agree that Ravikovitch’s poetry towers above any [Hebrew] poetry written by a woman that emerged in the State of Israel, and that she is one of its leading poets, along with the likes of Yehuda Amichai and Nathan Zach. This book thus introduces the English reader to some of the best poetry created in the twentieth century. Szobel has masterfully taken up an ambitious project: the psychological analysis of Ravikovitch’s literary persona. She examines how, in Ravikovitch’s oeuvre, a state of near helplessness becomes a part of a process of self-construction; how an imprisoned being maintains an identity. She meticulously and insightfully takes apart this extraordinary persona and gives it a ‘rational,’ intelligible explanation. Szobel’s groundbreaking book is innovative, profound, extremely intelligent and captivating.” —Nili Scharf Gold, associate professor of Modern Hebrew literature at the University of Pennsylvania

ILANA SZOBEL is an assistant professor in Hebrew Literature at Brandeis University.