Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Main Research Interests and Scientific Activities (briefly)

Study of the poetics of Uri Zvi Grinberg

The poetry of the Third Aliyah: Linguistic, stylistic and socio-literary aspects

Poetry and politics

  1. My research focuses on historical, socio-literary, cultural and linguistic processes, and how they influence the poet’s the spiritual and intellectual biography and the poetic characteristics of their literary output. My monographic studies of Uri Zvi Grinberg and Ya'acov Orland also explore how their work was accepted, their relationship with their readers and with other interpretive communities.

  2. The literary work of Ya'acov Orland on the background of the polysytem that existed during the pre-state period of the Yishuv and after the establishment of the state.
  3. Hebrew song – Poetic, historical, linguistic and cultural aspects
  4. The Construction of the Figurative Language in Poetry

Academic Profile

My research in the field of Modern Hebrew literature focuses on poetry written in the first half of the 20th century, in the days when Hebrew modernism was taking shape. I explore historical, socio-literary, cultural and linguistic processes and how they influence the poets’ spiritual biography and the poetic characteristics of their literary output.

My current research project, Bahir Ve-Gavoha Kezemer: Ya’akov Orland - Poetics, History, Culture (The Ben Gurion research institute, in print), is an attempt to map Orland's work as a whole and the evolution of his lyrical style over a writing career spanning more than sixty years. The study traces Orland’s literary efforts in the spheres of lyrical poetry, theater, translation and songwriting, with an emphasis on the diversity of his work in a cultural polysystem framework, as well as his involvement in literary circles such as the Yahdav group in the 1930s and Mahbarot Lesifrut, led by Natan Alterman and Israel Zmora, in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Other aspects of Orland’s work are explored in an article I wrote about the cultural-ideological climate in the 1930s (Iyunim bitkumat yisrael, 2005) and an article on the fighting and resistance songs that Ya’akov Orland wrote together with Mordechai Zeira during their service in the British army’s Hebrew Entertainment Troupe. In these songs, Orland creates a new poetic language that had a major impact on Israel’s militaristic ethos (Cathedra, 2008). Another article deals with the ballad 'The day of Tel Faher', and with Orland's poetic way to explain the gap between the historic truth about the failure of the battle and the mythic truth  that took shape in the national and cultural mind (Hebrew Studies, in print).

The monograph is based on manuscripts, correspondence and other previously unpublished documents. Most of the material comes from the poet’s archive, entrusted to me in 1998 by the Kurtzweil Institute for the purpose of writing a book. I have supplemented it with documents and source material from other archives: the Asher Barash Gnazim Institute, the Nathan Alterman Institute, the Israeli Documentation Center for the Performing Arts, the Central Zionist Archives and the archive of the Israel Labor Party. In my article “27 Poems – Natan Would Say” (Dapim Lemekhkar Besifrut, 2009), I demonstrated the importance of readings based on manuscripts and comparisons of the draft and printed versions, with an eye to deletions, additions and changes. The differences between the author’s spontaneous, unedited copy and the reworked final version can be enlightening.

My interest in the cultural and socio-literary aspects of modernist writing in Eretz Yisrael during the Yishuv period led to another research project conducted under the auspices of the Heksherim Institute of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – mapping the cafes of the 1930s and 1940s, which were an important venue for cultural and literary activity in Tel Aviv. The study examines the key role of various cafes as a backdrop for cultural and personal interaction, and the intergenerational battle then raging in Hebrew literature.

This polysystemic study of a poet’s literary and cultural activities ties in naturally with my previous research of the poetry and journalistic writing of Uri Zvi Grinberg in Eretz Yisrael in the 1920s. In my book, Lenoga nekudat hapele (Haifa University and Zmora-Bitan, 2006) and other articles, I have explored the link between poetry and journalistic writing in terms of the linguistic organization of the text (for example, Criticism and Interpretation, 2005), but also as a broader cultural-aesthetic phenomenon, examining the reception of Grinberg’s work in light of the unique ethos of the Third Aliyah (Prooftexts, 2009, JJS, fortcoming), or on the  background of the first decade of the British Mandate over Eretz Israel, and its political-historical contexts. (Israel Studies, 2013).

Another research topic emanating from my earlier work, which traces the development of Modern Hebrew poetry in the light of historical and cultural processes, is political poetry and its social connotations, such as my study of the political poems of Dahlia Ravikovitch (Re’eh, forthcoming), and the use of graphic and perverted images as a key to understanding the political poetry of Rami Ditzani (Tzafon, 2004).

The linkage between poetic and linguistic discourse has also interested me in recent years. In collaboration with Zohar Livnat, I edited a special issue of Bikoret u-parshanut (Criticism and Interpretation: Journal for Research in Jewish Literature), exploring these links. Our joint research on the language of Uri Zvi Grinberg, and especially collocations in his poetic and journalistic writings, has produced several articles (Bikoret u-parshanut, 2005); Uri Zvi Grinberg’s Streets of the River – Research and Documents, 2007; Shofar 2005). Over the last few years, we have been building a computerized database for the complete poetic and journalistic writings of Uri Zvi Grinberg, sponsored by the Responsa project of Bar Ilan University. This database will serve as the basis for our plans to put out an encyclopedia of collocations in Grinberg’s work. To date, our work on this project, which enjoys the support of the rector of Bar Ilan University, has been underwritten by several research grants.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Bar-Ilan University

… → Jun 1996

Award Date: 30 Jun 1996


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