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Rice Lecture Series: Israeli Children’s Literature: Prophets and Loss
Like the State of Israel itself, the literary representations of Israel have altered dramatically since the declaration of independence in 1948. Reaching well beyond a mere birthday celebration, the Rice Lecture Series includes three events that will dive into the evolution of the representation of Israel in literature of different genres, languages and audiences. These will include children’s literature, literature in English by Israeli authors, and comics and graphic novels.
Dr. Ofra Amihay
With the recent loss of Meir Shalev and Yehonatan Geffen as a starting point, this lecture will reflect on the unique phenomenon of celebrated Israeli authors who publish influential works for adults as well as for children. We will explore how Geffen and Shalev’s innovative writing for children played a central role in reshaping Israeli literature, locating the private world of the child, instead of the communal concerns of the state, in focus. Yet, while seeking to break away from Zionist notions of collectivity and heroism, we will also examine how in their choice to write for children they also carried the torch lit by early Zionist authors, who marked children’s literature as a national task of utmost importance.