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Distributed for Brandeis University Press

A Poetics of Trauma

The Work of Dahlia Ravikovitch

The work of the renowned Israeli poet, translator, peace activist, and 1998 Israel Prize laureate Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936–2005) portrays the emotional structure of a traumatized and victimized female character. Ilana Szobel’s book, the first full-length study of Ravikovitch in English, offers a theoretical discussion of the poetics of trauma and the politics of victimhood, as well as a rethinking of the notions of activity and passivity, strength and weakness. Analyzing the deep structure embodied in Ravikovitch’s work, Szobel unearths the interconnectedness of Ravikovitch’s private-poetic subjectivity and Israeli national identity, and shows how her unique poetics can help readers overcome cultural biases and sympathetically engage otherness.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments • Introduction: What Must Be Forgotten • Part 1: Forever Beholden: The State of Orphanhood • Poetics of Orphanhood • “She Has Damaged the Little Girl”: Orphanhood and Motherhood • “His Eldest Daughter”: Women’s Symbolic Orphanhood • Part 2: Estrangement: The Project of Female Subjectivity • Estrangement and the Collision of Perspectives • “Imaginary Geography”: The Gap between “Here” and “Over There” • Part 3: “She Tried to Escape and Lost Her Senses”: Mania, Depression, and Madness • The Manic-Depressive Mode: Poetics of Mobilité • “Therefore I Invented Conversation”: Speech about Madness, and Mad Speech • Part 4: Unveiling Injustice: Testimony, Complicity, and National Identity • “Hovering at a Low Altitude”: Witnessing and Complicity • “Guilt-Ridden Poems”: The Contamination of Language and the Departure from Innocence • “Stinging and Itching/Maddeningly: The Palestinians as the Israeli Abjection • Conclusion: “The Transparent Skin That Unites Us” • Notes • Bibliography • Index

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