Abstract

This article examines two Hebrew poems that were written in Palestine in 1925 and 1926. The first, "Baderekh [Along the Way]," was written by Dovid Hofshteyn and published in Haarets on Thursday, May 14, 1925. The second, "El artsi [To My Land]," was written by Rachel Bluwstein-Sela and published in Davar on Friday, August 27, 1926. The two poems share a common theme as well as some images. In both, the poet implores the homeland to accept the "meager" offering of the weaker members of its society, who fail to represent the homeland on the battlefield. Both poets imagine the homeland as a mother who is comforting, loving, but also judgmental and commanding a strong emotional response, as her approval determines the poet's sense of self-worth and personal accomplishment. But while Bluwstein's "El artsi [To My Land]" became a canonical text of Hebrew poetry, Hofshteyn's earlier poem had made very little impression on Hebrew readers. Were the different receptions of the two poems the result of structural and aesthetic conventions? Were they the result of Hofshteyn's identity as a Yiddish poet and a communist? Or were they the result of the fact that one poet was a man and the other a woman? And, if one is to accept the latter idea, one could argue that women poets had a greater licence at the beginning of the twentieth-century to circumvent Zionist values and ideologies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3311
Print ISSN
0272-9601
Pages
pp. 210-228
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-29
Open Access
No
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