Though often hailed as a miracle, the modern revival of the Hebrew language—reserved historically, like Latin, for liturgy, legalistic reasoning, and the intellectual speculations of a male, religious elite—is perhaps more properly understood as a ghost story. The efforts that began in the middle of the nineteenth century at creating first a modern literary language, and a spoken vernacular about a generation later, involved rummaging through centuries of idiom, allusion, and social registers in search of an ageless word to signify a newly created concept, technology, or social situation. When, at the turn of the century, this linguistic revival became tied to a political ideology of territorial reclamation, the sifting and shifting through contested buildings, human settlements, and whole cities made the spectral revivification of a language a literal trafficking in spaces haunted by corpses both long dead and freshly killed. The manifestation of these ghosts in the development of...
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Book Review| March 01 2023
Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution
Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution, by Karen Grumberg.
Indiana University Press,
311+ xiv pp.
Comparative Literature (2023) 75 (1): 127–128.
Marc Caplan; Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution. Comparative Literature 1 March 2023; 75 (1): 127–128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-10160693
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