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Wrestling with Redemption: A. B. Yehoshua's Retrospective Imagination


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On April 22, an online lecture by Yael Halevi-Wise, author of the new book The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua (2020), explored the work and ethos of one of Israel's foremost contemporary authors.

About the Program

Dr. Yael Halevi-Wise, McGill University Associate Professor of Literature and Chair of Jewish Studies, examined how Yehoshua’s speeches, interviews and op-eds have turned him into a prominent public intellectual in the eye of the Zionist storm; but Yehoshua’s fame – the fact that anyone is even interested in hearing his opinions about Jewish identity – rests on his impressive and considerable literary abilities. Without reducing Yehoshua’s art to a vehicle for conveying ideological positions, she showcased how he mounts a multilayered engagement with the here and now – in light of the past and future – to elicit a deeper conversation about core aspects of Jewish history and thought.

Moderated by Dr. Ethan Pack, a lecturer in Hebrew literature sponsored by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature.


About the Book

Yael Halevi-Wise's new book, The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua (Penn State University Press, 2020) explores the work of the internationally-recognized novelist whom the New York Times has called the "Israeli Faulkner." Instead of an exhaustive chronological-biographical account of Yehoshua's artistic growth, Halevi-Wise's book calls for a systematic appreciation of the author's major themes and compositional patterns. Specifically, she argues for reading Yehoshua's novels as reflections on the “condition of Israel,” constructed multifocally to engage four intersecting levels of signification: psychological, sociological, historical, and historiosophic.


About the Speaker

Dr. Yael Halevi-Wise is Associate Professor of Literature and Chair of Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her areas of interest include the theory of the novel, contemporary Israeli literature, 19th century English literature and 20th century Latin American literature. Before coming to Montreal, she taught at Brandeis, Cornell and Princeton universities. Dr. Halevi-Wise is the author of many journal articles and several books, including most recently The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua (Penn State University Press, 2020). Her other books are Sephardism: Spanish/Jewish History and the Modern Literary Imagination (Stanford University Press, 2012) and Interactive Fictions: Scenes of Storytelling in the Novel (Praeger/Greenwood Press, 2003). She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University.


DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.