Creating a socialist canon for children: Lea Goldberg dictates a revolutionary dualism in labor movement children's literature in the 1940s and 1950s

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Abstract

Lea Goldberg served as a key literary taste-maker in the labor movement children's literature for a period of about 25 years, from the mid-1930s until the end of the 1950s. This essay focuses on the peak of her activities in this field, a period beginning in 1943 and ending around 1960. These were the years of her uncompromising struggle to establish a children's literary canon through Sifriyat Po'alim, the publishing house of Hashomer Hatza'ir and Hakibbutz Ha'artzi federation. The essay explores the strategies employed by Goldberg in her pursuit of a meaningful balance between two contrasting labor movement approaches towards the revolutionary role of children's literature: the political approach, which recruited children's literature in order to promote revolutionary kibbutz values; and the poetic modernist approach, which defined literature itself as revolutionary. By maintaining a dialectic tension between the two models of a revolutionary literary beautiful, Goldberg led a quiet revolution in the hegemonic labor movement children's literature of her time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Israeli History
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Hebrew children's literature
  • Israeli labor movement
  • Lea Goldberg
  • Sifriyat Po'alim

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