This article describes a crucial and fundamental stage in the transformation of Hebrew children's literature, during the late 1930s and 1940s, from a single channel of expression to a multilayered polyphony of models and voices. It claims that for the first time in the history of Hebrew children's literature there took place a doctrinal confrontation between two groups of taste-makers. The article outlines the pedagogical and ideological designs of traditionalist Zionist educators, and suggests how these were challenged by a group of prominent writers of adult poetry, members of the Modernist movement. These writers, it is argued, advocated autonomous literary creation, and insisted on a high level of literary quality. Their intervention not only dramatically changed the repertoire of Hebrew children's literature, but also the rules of literary discourse. The article suggests that, through the Modernists' polemical efforts, Hebrew children's literature was able to free itself from its position as an apparatus controlled by the political-educational system and to become a dynamic and multi-layered field.
- Hebrew Children's Literature
- Jewish Palestine