It is often argued that Bialik's condemnation of Jewish cowardice in his long poem "In the City of Slaughter" promoted a radical change in the way Jews perceived themselves. His poetic wrath, it is said, jolted the Jewish public and inspired the Jewish self-defense movement, which called for the emergence of a New Jew. However, as this paper aims to show, Bialik response to the pogrom was more ambivalent and complex than previously thought. A rereading of Bialik's texts from this period — poems, letters, memoirs as well as the interviews he conducted with pogrom's survivors — reveals his ideological and emotional quandaries. By reading these texts (and of their censored versions) I expose Bialik's drama of writing, his doubts and hesitations vis-à-vis the Zionist concept of the New Jew and the fissures in his own national and gender identity.


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pp. 39-59
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