In his first book, 'Al ḥokhmot derakhim (1942), Avot Yeshurun established his unique position among the Hebrew poets in Palestine/Erets-Yisra'el. Embracing Zionism while acknowledging the presence of the Palestinian residents, Yeshurun took an ethical stance that resulted in a poetics that undermines the exclusiveness of Hebrew and of the Zionist vision. Yeshurun adopted the norms of symbolism in vogue at that literary moment on the Yishuv but subverted them by selecting Palestinians and the local landscape as his subject matter rather than Jewish or universalist themes. Using Georg Simmel's categories for describing different perceptions of the representative nature of the work of art, I show that Yeshurun's poetics stay close to materials provided by the local reality, while encouraging the reader to acknowledge the complexity of reality. Drawing from psychoanalytic theory, I establish the term "broken-symbolic" to indicate Yeshurun's sensitivity to the physicality or semiotics of Hebrew and Arabic and to expose the infrastructure of the Erets-Yisra'eli self-offered by his poetry. Yeshurun's poetics of kabbalat panim opens a path for a political view that accepts the Other while remaining deeply rooted in Jewish identity.


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pp. 129-155
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