High Exposure: The Poetics and Politics of Y. H. Brenner's "Ocular Modernist Turn"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article addresses the revolutionary first modernist chapter in the history of Hebrew literature as reflected and shaped in the prose of the Hebrew writer Yosef ?ayim Brenner during the first decade of the twentieth century. These turbulent years, which were marked by violent atrocities, massive population movements across borders, and increasing economic distress, brought about the rise of the earliest form of Hebrew literary modernism within Eastern European Jewish society. This article approaches this development as a crisis of spectatorship. Being the prior condition for any act of representation of reality, spectatorship was problematized in times when the Hebrew narrator was looking for, and could not find, a vantage point from which he could observe this reality. For Brenner, the problem of gaze and vision appeared as the most acute kinship to the political-aesthetic form of Jewish modern experience. Thus, through his ongoing debate on the status of vision ? imbued with a strong impulse of criticism of sovereign power ? he sketched the new contours of Hebrew modernist aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow-Instituts
Place of PublicationGöttingen
PublisherVandenhoeck & Ruprecht
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-3-525-37080-3
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameJahrbuch des Dubnow-Instituts / Dubnow Institute Yearbook
VolumeBand XVII/2018
ISSN (Print)2198-3097


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