Yosef Haim Brenner: A Life (Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C)

Based on formerly unexploited fundamental assets, this can be the 1st accomplished biography of Yosef Haim Brenner, one of many pioneers of contemporary Hebrew literature. Born in 1881 to a negative Jewish relations in Russia, Brenner released his first tale, "A Loaf of Bread," in 1900. After being drafted into the Russian military, he abandoned to England and later immigrated to Palestine the place he turned an eminent author, critic and cultural icon of the Jewish and Zionist cultural milieu. His lifestyles was once tragically resulted in the violent 1921 Jaffa riots.

In a nutshell, Brenner's existence tale encompasses the iteration that made "the nice bounce" from Imperial Russia's light of cost to the metropolitan facilities of modernity, and from conventional Jewish ideals and lifestyle to secularism and existentialism. In his writing he experimented with language and shape, yet consistently trying to painting existence realistically. A hugely acerbic critic of Jewish society, Brenner used to be relentless in portraying the vices of either Jewish public lifestyles and person Jews. such a lot of his contemporaries not just approved his critique, yet famous him for his forthrightness and took it as proof of his honesty and veracity.

Renowned writer and historian Anita Shapira's new biography illuminates Brenner's lifestyles and occasions, and his relationships with major cultural leaders corresponding to Nobel laureate S.Y. Agnon, Hayim Nahman Bialik, Israel's nationwide Poet, and so on. Undermining the authorised myths approximately his existence and his demise, his melancholy, his kin with writers, ladies, and men—including the query of his homoeroticism—this new biography examines Brenner's lifestyles in all its complexity and contradiction.

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Brenner, despite the fact that, considered Shimonovich’s straitened situations as extra evidence that Palestine was once no position for intellectuals. 70 while Shimonovich’s months of protect accountability have been over, he went to Jaffa, the place he and Brenner shared a room on the Odessa lodge. they might walk alongside the seashore jointly. researching the seashore as a leisure-time position was once a part of the Palestine adventure. The adolescents could lie at the sand, conversing and making a song to the lapping of the waves: “Just think the influence made by means of this sight on a brand new immigrant, who unearths enlightened humans mendacity of their outfits within the sand,” wrote an incredulous younger immigrant from Galicia to his spouse.

The renewed come upon with Gnessin printed how some distance aside the 2 buddies had drifted, how varied the 2 grown males have been from the youths who had cast a friendship. Gnessin got here to London after a yr of poor difficulty in Kiev. His well-being had deteriorated; he had center sickness that were exacer­ bated through the cruel stipulations of his existence. He used to be a steady aristocrat who didn't demonstrate his anguish in public. The silence that had continuously surrounded him grew to become more and more impenetrable. He suffered by myself and proudly, whereas Brenner turned ever extra extroverted, revealing all his torments, crying out in soreness, and looking forward to humans to console him in his sorrow.

At the eve of global battle I, there have been a few 85,000 Jews residing in Palestine, so much of them Haredim (ultraorthodox), dwelling within the holy towns, usually Jerusalem. The so-called new Yishuv (“settlement”; the time period refers back to the physique of Jewish citizens in Palestine) was once positioned within the moshavot, West Jerusalem, Jaffa, and later Tel Aviv, with a small inhabitants in Haifa, and numbered nearly 12,000 souls. the most contrast among the “new” and “old” Yishuv was once no longer in response to angle towards religion—many within the new Yishuv have been observant Jews—but on career.

Seventy eight on the younger peoples’ gatherings, with his perpetual gloom he additionally published the positive, joyful part that he hid at the back of his despairing visual appeal. in the end, he used to be now not but thirty years outdated. Shimonovich recounts how he might burst into laughter on listening to a Russian malapropism, “a resounding giggle that will frighten the jackals within the vineyards. ”79 Brenner, who eschewed the pleasures of existence, dragged Shimonovich to the seashore as the sea was once appealing or even sat with him in an easy Arab seashore café consuming tiny cups of espresso.

Itzkovitz later wrote: “If you knew how a lot spilled blood this text triggered B. [Brenner]. ”66 Schoffman recollects that Brenner “flew right into a rage, and with all of his reverence for Bialik, this time he uttered a few harsh phrases approximately him. ”67 based on one other testimony, Brenner went right into a melancholy due to it, lay on his mattress, and stayed there, faded and tortured. sixty eight Even later on, while Brenner was once already in Palestine, Bialik didn't cease attempting to placed him in his position. His final recognized reaction to 1 of Brenner’s works matters the tale “Beyn mayim lemayim” (Between waters).

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