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A Poetics of Trauma
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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.
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About the Author

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

Reviews

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

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