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Shattered Vessels

Memory, Identity, and Creation in the Work of David Shahar

Michal Peled Ginsburg, Moshe Ron

Publication Year: 2004

The first book-length study of the Israeli novelist David Shahar. David Shahar (1926–1997), author of the seven-novel sequence The Palace of Shattered Vessels, occupies an ambiguous position in the Israeli literary canon. Often compared to Proust, Shahar produced a body of work that offers a fascinating poetic and ideological alternative to the dominant models of Amos Oz and A. B. Yehoshua. This book, the first full-length study of this fascinating author, takes a fresh look at the uniqueness of his literary achievement in both poetic and ideological terms. In addition to situating Shahar within the European literary tradition, the book reads Shahar’s representation of Jerusalem in his multi-volume novel as a “heterotopia”—an actual space where society’s unconscious (what does not fit on its ideological map) is materially present—and argues for the relevance of Shahar’s work to the critical discussion of the Arab question in Israeli culture.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii

The authors are grateful to Shulamit Shahar, Meir Shahar, and Madeleine Neige for their cooperation and encouragement. We also wish to thank Murray Baumgarten, Yair Mazor, Alan Mintz, and Henry Sussman for their help and support.We are beholden to Tamar Sofer and Mark Shaeffer for the ...

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pp. ix-xiv

At the time of his death, April 2, 1997, David Shahar had not become a household name. He died in France, and his body was transported back home to Jerusalem, where a brief ceremony was held before the funeral procession to the Mount of Olives. A few dozen people gathered in the little plaza outside Beit Hasofer in downtown Jerusalem around a slightly raised stone platform ...

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Chapter 1. Flirting with the Uncanny

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pp. 1-23

Somewhere near the middle of the first volume of David Shahar’s novel sequence The Palace of Shattered Vessels, the narrator describes a scene he witnessed many years before. He was a ten-year-old boy sitting on the verandah reading a book (Bialik’s adaptation of Don Quixote) when judge Dan Gutkin, a Jewish magistrate under the British Mandate administration, came to pay a ...

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Chapter 2. The Eyes of a Woman in (and out of ) Love: Creation, Painting, and Betrayal in Shahar’s Fiction

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pp. 25-56

In this chapter we set out to explore the peculiar and recurrent association in Shahar’s fiction between painting, betrayal, and the ambiguity of the female gaze. We begin by tracing this pattern through several short stories and the novel His Majesty’s Agent. We then return to The Palace of Shattered Vessels,where the art of painting does not figure prominently but where, as we propose ...

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Chapter 3. Shahar’s Jerusalem

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pp. 57-86

Critics and reviewers of Shahar’s work have long recognized him as a “Jerusalem author.”1 Jerusalem is not only the city where Shahar was born and where he lived most of his life, it also is the setting for most of his works; The Palace of Shattered Vessels bore, for a while, the subtitle “Jerusalem Scrolls.” But how exactly does Jerusalem function in the Palace novels? How does the representation of ...

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Chapter 4. Otherness, Identity, and Place

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pp. 87-117

Shahar is not often thought of as an author who deals with the “Arab question,” and studies dealing with the treatment of this topic in Israeli literature hardly ever mention his name.1 It is true that the narrative of The Palace of Shattered Vessels does not seem, at least at first sight, a particularly hospitable context for the discussion of political and ideological issues. Yet the narrator’s ...

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Chapter 5. Remembering Proust

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pp. 119-148

In 1978, in a review article devoted to Shahar’s Summer in the Street of the Prophets, which had just come out in French translation, the journalist Jacqueline Piatier (who was then the editor of the book section of Le Monde) wrote: “David Shahar is a Hebrew author whose name the French should know since it is that of a master. . . . A few volumes of his Jerusalem Scrolls have already ...


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pp. 149-173


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pp. 175-183


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pp. 185-189

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486009
E-ISBN-10: 0791486001
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791459195
Print-ISBN-10: 0791459195

Page Count: 204
Illustrations: 3 maps
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture