Imagining the Kibbutz

Imagining the Kibbutz

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In Imagining the Kibbutz, Ranen Omer-Sherman explores the literary and cinematic representations of the socialist experiment that became historya€™s most successfully sustained communal enterprise. Inspired in part by the kibbutz movementa€™s recent commemoration of its centennial, this study responds to a significant gap in scholarship. Numerous sociological and economic studies have appeared, but no book-length study has ever addressed the tremendous range of critically imaginative portrayals of the kibbutz. This diachronic study addresses novels, short fiction, memoirs, and cinematic portrayals of the kibbutz by both kibbutz a€œinsidersa€ (including those born and raised there, as well as those who joined the kibbutz as immigrants or migrants from the city) and a€œoutsiders.a€ For these artists, the kibbutz is a crucial microcosm for understanding Israeli values and identity. The central drama explored in their works is the monumental tension between the individual and the collective, between individual aspiration and ideological rigor, between self-sacrifice and self-fulfillment. Portraying kibbutz life honestly demands retaining at least two oppositional things in mind at oncea€”the absolute necessity of euphoric dreaming and the mellowing inevitability of disillusionment. As such, these artistsa€™ imaginative witnessing of the fraught relation between the collective and the citizen-soldier is the story of Israel itself.... pride in never having been seduced into entering the political realm, unlike those who a€œcut themselves off completely from manual labora€ (Jackals 43). ... His only son, Gideon, is the product of a sad affair with a lonely kibbutz girl thirtythree years his junior and has been a profound disappointment ... He was always lovesick, and he published sad poems and cruel parodies in the childrena#39;s newsletter.

Title:Imagining the Kibbutz
Author: Ranen Omer-Sherman
Publisher:Penn State Press - 2015-04-13

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