Journal Article

Exile and Redemption: Amy Levy’s Association with Yehuda Halevi and the Transmission of the Sephardic Tradition of Hebrew Poetry

Luke Devine

in Literature and Theology

Volume 26, issue 2, pages 125-143
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online April 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frs011
Exile and Redemption: Amy Levy’s Association with Yehuda Halevi and the Transmission of the Sephardic Tradition of Hebrew Poetry

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This article hopes to contribute to our understanding of minority discourse and the gendered experience of acculturation in the fin-de-siècle Anglo-Jewish community by exploring the link between the hermeneutical poetry of the Anglo-Jewish writer Amy Levy and the Sephardic tradition of Hebrew poetry that began in al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia) in the 10th–12th centuries. In the poem ‘Captivity’, Levy sets up a theological and eschatological dialogue with the renowned medieval poet Yehuda Halevi through exegetical and eisegetical concepts of exile and redemption. In the process, she locates in the Sephardic institution of diasporic verse a spiritual yearning for Jerusalem. This longing enables her to formulate her own sense of collective ancestral experience and a vent to intersecting identity issues. By doing so, Levy negotiates a unique and personal dialogue with the groundbreaking poets of Spain’s Golden Age and ensures the transmission of their eschatological and aesthetical tradition to the current generation of ‘exiles’.

Journal Article.  8355 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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