Shifting Places: Representations of Sand in Pre-State Hebrew Poetry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines representations of sand in pre-state Hebrew poetry. It first considers the poem “A Small Letter” (1894), subtitled “From the Diaspora to My Brothers in Zion,” by Hayim Nahman Bialik, who describes the diaspora as unstable ground on which permanent residence is impossible. It then discusses changes in the Yishuv’s attitude toward the geographical space of Eretz Israel in the 1920s and how these relate to the evolving political structure of the Yishuv. It also analyzes the poetry of the Third Aliyah, including Avot Yeshurun’s Hunger and Thirst, in which the sand draws its meaning from place. The chapter suggests that the poetry of the Third Aliyah portrays Tel Aviv as a text written on sand, and that such portrayal is intertwined with the city’s location on the coast.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPlace in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
EditorsRichard I. Cohen
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780190912659
ISBN (Print)9780190912628
StatePublished - Aug 2018

RAMBI publications

  • rambi
  • Eretz Israel -- History -- 1917-1948, British Mandate period
  • Eretz Israel -- In literature
  • Hebrew poetry, Modern -- History and criticism
  • Jewish authors -- Eretz Israel
  • Judaism in literature
  • Landscapes in literature
  • Zionism and literature


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