Chapter

Politics and Literature

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520079588.003.0013
Politics and Literature

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The pogroms that symbolized the momentum of the changes and launched the great immigration occurred in 1881—1882. Thus, an entire generation passed from the shock of 1881—1882 to the formation of political and institutional instruments in 1897. The generation stunned by the pogroms was in a panic and did not know how to respond. Its immediate reaction was flight, mass emigration. What happened between 1881 and 1897? The new Jewish literature burst onto center stage. This new literature created an image of fiction of the world that served as a vivid base for the nation's and the individual's self-awareness; it was mostly a critical picture, but written from the inside. Only on the basis of that self-image were the political ideologies formulated. Without understanding the rise of literature and its role in the formation of the new intrinsic polysystem, one cannot understand how these ideologies suddenly blossomed.

Keywords: pogroms; immigration; emigration; Jewish; literature; fiction; self-awareness; polysystem

Chapter.  2353 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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