Preliminaries by S. Yizhar
(Hebrew Classics S.)

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After a silence of almost 30 years since his Stories of a Plain, Yizhar reasserted his position as the greatest living master of Hebrew prose with Preliminaries. Strongly autobiographical, Preliminaries progresses frame by frame, showing a boy growing up in a Jewish farming community in Palestine and in the young city of Tel Aviv between the years 1917 and 1930. The boy's sensual experience, his most primary, embryonic grasp of the world, coalesces with the adult consciousness looking back, a kind of late return to the innermost part of the child. His growing-up is linked to the story of the land of Israel in the early days of Jewish agricultural settlement: the longing to create a new Jew, the harsh existence of the struggling community, the early clashes between Jews and Arabs. Yizhar's pictures are rich in sensual power, laden with scents and colors. But the real subject of Preliminaries is a child's discovery, in confusion, wonder and terror, of the concrete world around him. In resurrecting his childhood in the land of Israel, Yizhar is carrying out a gentle stocktaking of the renewed Jewish society.

Preliminaries has been translated by Nicholas de Lange of Cambridge University, one of today's outstanding translators from Hebrew to English. Introduced by Dan Miron.


About S. Yizhar

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S Yizhar (Yizhar Smilansky) was born in Rehovot, Israel to a family of Russian immigrants who were members of the Zionist pioneer intelligentsia. He fought in the 1948 War of Independence, was a member of the political parties headed by David Ben Gurion and held a seat in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) for 17 years. Yizhar was a Professor of Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor of Hebrew Literature at Tel Aviv University. He was awarded the Israel Prize for his masterpiece Days of Ziklag (1959). He also received the Brenner Prize, the Bialik Prize (1991), and the Emet Prize for Art, Science and Culture (2002). Nicholas de Lange is a professor at the University of Cambridge and a renowned translator. He has translated Amos Oz's work since the 1960s. Miron is the Leonard Kay Chair for Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He also teaches at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is an internationally recognized literary critic.
Published May 1, 2007 by Toby Pr. 305 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Early in life, he learns about despair: “This land is given to desperate people .

Feb 15 2007 | Read Full Review of Preliminaries (Hebrew Classic...

Publishers Weekly

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Yizhar is penname of Yizhar Smilansky (1916-2006), who fought in Israel's 1948 War of Independence, served in the Knesset and wrote major fictions of early zionism, including Days of Ziklag.

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Project MUSE

According to Dan Miron, a senior scholar of Hebrew literature, who wrote the introduction to the two volumes considered here, Yizhar was influenced by the stream of consciousness style employed by the Hebrew writer A.

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