Chapter

The Revival of Written Hebrew

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/9780520079588.003.0025
The Revival of Written Hebrew

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The motif of language's revival was not invented by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda but was a lingering sentiment in Haskala circles in Lithuania. After several more poems and introductions, they finally got to the novel, opening in a Paris dive where murderers and robbers drink their wine; the concept of such a dive is explained by the translator in the text itself—for his dear readers had presumably never seen one. During the Enlightenment, those were scattered but persistent efforts, and gradually, or in spurts, the trend was broadened. In terms of the revival of the language, we encounter several important achievements here. The great expansion of original imaginative literature in Hebrew—the so-called “Renaissance Period” of Hebrew literature—occurred in Russia when the Haslzala broke down, that is, after Ben-Yehuda had gone off to the remote Ottoman province of Palestine.

Keywords: language; revival; Eliezer Ben-Yehuda; Haskala; Lithuania; Enlightenment; literature; Renaissance; Russia

Chapter.  6294 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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