The first decade Israeli sovereignty has been a source of fascination for all sorts of historians who find in this “return to history” many intriguing phenomena. The same is true, of course, for Israeli literature. Usually the emphasis is on what is new in Israeli writing after 1948 or how the individual writers emerged from the collective ethos of the kibbutz. Critics cite such writers and Shamir, Megid, or Yizhar in prose or Amichai and Zach in poetry. A consensus has arisen regarding the nature of Israeli writing in its first decade. If however we shift the emphasis from these writers to the late Agnon, the leading writer of the period, or to the early Appelfeld, who developed a brilliant career afterwards we get a strikingly different picture. The further we advance from the first decade, the more we realize that its literature as more varied and richer than early historians have described it.

Annual Arnold Band Distinguished Lecture in Jewish Studies

About the Speaker: Professor Arnold J. Band earned his B.A. in Classics and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He has also studied at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, and at the University of Paris. His research focuses on the relationship between texts and historical contexts in Jewish Literature of all periods, and specifically in modern Hebrew literature. He has published a lengthy study on the Hebrew author S.Y. Agnon entitled Nostalgia and Nightmare, an annotated volume of translations of the Hasidic Tales of Nahman of Braslav, and many articles on a variety of other topics, such as Kafka, Bialik, The Book of Jonah, Semantic Rhyme in Hebrew Prosody, modern Israeli fiction and poetry. Professor Band founded the UCLA Comparative Literature Program in 1969 and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1981. He has received both a National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was the Director of the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies from 1994 to 1996.


Sponsored By:

UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies

Funding Provided by

Milt & Sheila Hyman

Cosponsored By:

UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies

UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Culture