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Wrestling with Redemption: A. B. Yehoshua’s Retrospective Imagination

Apr 22, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Wrestling with Redemption: A. B. Yehoshua’s Retrospective Imagination

Thursday, April 22

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Pacific Time

Yael Halevi-Wise will talk about her recent book, The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua(2020), which examines the work and ethos of one of Israel’s foremost contemporary authors. An internationally-recognized novelist, the New York Times has called Yehoshua the “Israeli Faulkner.”

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies and the UCLA Department of Comparative Literature.

About the Program

Exploring the work of celebrated Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua, the program brings together McGill University Associate Professor of Literature and Chair of Jewish Studies Yael Halevi-Wise, author of The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua and discussant and scholar, Rabbi Dr. William Cutter, Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Halevi-Wise’s talk will examine how Yehoshua’s speeches, interviews and op-eds have turned him into a prominent public intellectual in the eye of the Zionist storm; but Yehoshua’s fame – the fact that anyone is even interested in hearing his opinions about Jewish identity – rests on his impressive and considerable literary abilities. Without reducing Yehoshua’s art to a vehicle for conveying ideological positions, she will showcase how he mounts a multilayered engagement with the here and now – in light of the past and future – to elicit a deeper conversation about core aspects of Jewish history and thought.

About the Book

Yael Halevi-Wise’s new book, The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua (Penn State University Press, 2020) explores the work of the internationally-recognized novelist whom the New York Times has called the “Israeli Faulkner.” Instead of an exhaustive chronological-biographical account of Yehoshua’s artistic growth, Halevi-Wise’s book calls for a systematic appreciation of the author’s major themes and compositional patterns. Specifically, she argues for reading Yehoshua’s novels as reflections on the “condition of Israel,” constructed multifocally to engage four intersecting levels of signification: psychological, sociological, historical, and historiosophic.


About the Speaker

Dr. Yael Halevi-Wise is Associate Professor of Literature and Chair of Jewish Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Her areas of interest include the theory of the novel, contemporary Israeli literature, 19th century English literature and 20th century Latin American literature. Before coming to Montreal, she taught at Brandeis, Cornell and Princeton universities. Dr. Halevi-Wise is the author of many journal articles and several books, including most recently The Retrospective Imagination of A.B. Yehoshua (Penn State University Press, 2020). Her other books are Sephardism: Spanish/Jewish History and the Modern Literary Imagination (Stanford University Press, 2012) and Interactive Fictions: Scenes of Storytelling in the Novel (Praeger/Greenwood Press, 2003). She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University.

DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker’s views or opinions. 

Sponsor(s): Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel StudiesComparative Literature, UCLA Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies.


Apr 22, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm