Although they were at first reluctant, modern Hebrew poets adopted the biographical model of the hero-prophet, including their miraculous birth. The present paper explores this myth by focusing on how three modern Hebrew poets—Bialik, Shlonsky, and Greenberg—treat the birth story in an attempt to reach down to the speaker's spiritual roots. Impelled by the Romantics and the birth story model, modern Hebrew "prophetic" poets, in search of the self, reverted to the narrative of their birth and their childhood. This is done sometimes with simplicity and naiveté, and sometimes with more than a tinge of self-irony and ambivalence, as in the poetry of Haim Nahman Bialik. While Avraham Shlonsky seems to play games with the theme, Uri Zvi Greenberg is almost completely serious and unquestioningly convinced of his mission.


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pp. 75-97
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