Harold Schimmel’s Diasporic Poetry: Hebrew Literature as World Literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 1983, Israeli American poet Harold Schimmel published a Hebrew long poem entitled: ’Afra de-Ar’a: Uri Nisan Gnesin be-Erets-Yisra’el (1907-1908). This narrative poem, which Schimmel never included in any of his collections, focuses on the famed Hebrew modernist Uri Nissan Gnessin’s short-lived stay in Palestine, after which he returned to Europe. Initially, Schimmel had planned to write a scholarly essay on Gnessin, but ultimately, he synthesized the variegated materials he had gathered into a long poem, which he described as “an essay in short lines.” Despite its status as an apocryphal text in Schimmel’s oeuvre, this article proposes to read ’Afra de-Ar’a as a hermeneutical key for understanding his diasporic poetics. Schimmel does not implicate himself in this narrative poem, written as a fabric of quotations from Gnessin’s oeuvre and from texts Gnessin must have read. Yet Gnessin enables Schimmel to think anew about his own relationship with the Hebrew language. While Schimmel never reveals his motivation for writing this poem, it is read as a self-reflection on his own immigration to Israel and on his choice of Hebrew over his mother tongue.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalLyre
Volume1
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Deterritorialization
  • Exile
  • Harold Schimmel
  • Hebrew Poetry
  • Minor literature
  • Multilingualism
  • Second Aliyah
  • Uri Nissan Gnessin
  • World literature

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Harold Schimmel’s Diasporic Poetry: Hebrew Literature as World Literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this