Ideology in Modern Hebrew Literature in A Post-ideological Age

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This dissertation examines the trajectory of the mutation of the Zionist ideology in the history of modern Hebrew literature, and explores the form and literary presentation of ideology in the contemporary Hebrew novels. Under the circumstance of the worldwide flux of nationalism and the end of an ideological age, Israeli intellectuals are seeking alternative to Zionism and its critical development known as post-Zionism. Modern Hebrew literature, which used to be explicit about ideological appeals, is becoming less articulate in its dialogue with the current inchoate neo-Zionist age.

This research recognises the literary taciturn about ideology and the dysfunction of the previous ideological paradigm, and aims to identify new interpretations of the conceptual elements of nationalism in modern Hebrew literature: place, people, time, and memory. Based on the analysis and comparison of 25 modern Hebrew novels published during 1852 ~2018, the literary survey firstly adopts contemporary analytical theories to review the modern Hebrew canon that shaped Israel’s national ideology, and then deals with Hebrew novels published in the recent decade to discover if and how contemporary Hebrew literature thinks about the National. The discussion of each element involves exploration of topics relevant to Israel’s modern history and intellectual trend, including the diaspora, and the Jewish memory and historiography, and the socio-economic issues in Israel. Each topic is chronologically researched by the periodisation of pre-Zionist, Zionist, post-Zionist, and neo- Zionist age.

The chronological research shows interconnected literary traits that commonly prove the literature’s continued engagement to finding the meanings of the ever-changing Jewish national form. By displaying the conceiving and literary presentation of renewed national ideology in contemporary Hebrew literature, the research intends to shed light on the intellectual trend of today’s Israel.

Peleg, Yaron
Hebrew literature, Ideology, Zionism, Neo-Zionism, Post-Zionism
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
China Scholarship Council