Biographical encyclopedia of the modern Middle East and North Africa

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The book was based on the recordings of numerous encounters the editors held with kibbutz members who were returning from the war. At the time it was seen as a generational portrait sensitive to the suffering of war, but in retrospect one can claim that the book holds the seeds of the narcissism that was to become the main peace movement until the Oslo Accords.

Among the editors, Oz was quick to realize the immense distortions of occupation and military might, perhaps because he did not deny the lure of the Jewish past, nor the will to overpower. Having always viewed the east as a threat, Oz rapidly understood how the victory would undo the Zionist attempt to create a model European society in the Jewish land of Israel.

In fiction this takes the form of an often-abject dark antagonist that eventually exacts revenge on the ironized self-righteous father figures. This outlook, in a way, also forms the basic rationale of the new peace movement that positioned itself as a belated attempt to stop the flood in order to return to a better more coherent past.

Oz has a definite part in ironizing the father figures, yet at the same time he provides the view of peace as a return to a past harmony, to an Israel without an empire, which also happens to be a past in which the kibbutz and the European Jews held a fearsome hegemony. The prolific two decades that followed the War were defining for Oz.

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In he published his first and rather successful attempt at children's literature, Sumchi, telling of an eleven-year-old boy in Mandate Jerusalem out for an adventure. In Oz published the insightful collection of essays Under the Blazing Light, mastering the form of the short essay to discuss literary and political matters.

These developments were then honed to become what might be Oz's most important work, the ponderous reportage of his travels In the Land of Israel The work is well written and extremely perceptive. Offering the reader even more insight by exposing the assumptions and remissions of the observer. These vary: a compassionate encounter with the settlers in Ofra; a harrowing discussion with a former warrior of , preaching genocide to finally rid the Jews of their Judaizing; a conflicted encounter between embittered and ignorant Mizrahi laymen and a man of letters.

In the Land of Israel shows Oz is at his best, his eye surveying the land and its inhabitants, binding them with passion and compassion. The draughtsmanship is a fine craft of minute details.


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With A Perfect Peace published the preceding year, Oz had established himself as a public figure of considerable moral authority with a significant role in the debates over Lebanon war and its dismal aftermath. The right-wing sea change in Israel over the next years had helped Oz remain a figure of opposition, sharing with many a view of peace based on a substantial aversion to its surroundings. In , with the publication of Black Box, this aversion was explored in a highly allegorical novel mourning the death of a failed generation and fearing the libidinal rise of the abject, religious Mizrahi Jews.

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As with the problematic attempts at female consciousness, Oz is considerably weaker when he tries to write the other. During the s, as Oz became increasingly well-known abroad and more involved in academic engagements, the character of his writing changed.

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Since he is a full professor at the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. He has published two literary inquiries that can be attributed to these endeavors. Moderately successful and insightful, they cannot be called major works, and many observers find that in general his work in the s has not developed significantly or reached the level of his former work.

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Certainly To Know a Woman , Fima , and Don't Call it Night are well-crafted novels, but even the formally more explorative The Same Sea has not revealed an unknown side of Oz or proved a major development. A Tale of Love and Darkness appeared in and seemed to be that long awaited novel, and was perhaps too quickly claimed a classic.

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Long and elaborate, autobiographical and mythical, it is an almost postmodern text, deconstructing a life in letters in a way reminiscent of Quixote's second part undoing the first: deconstructing fiction with another fiction turning into myth. The tale of Amos finally in first person garnered great success in Israel, and in translation. As it often happens this also launched him into furtive publishing of partial and at times ill-prepared works, including a collection of three almost repetitive essays on German-Jewish relations in On the Slopes of the Volcano The World's Perspective Since the s Oz has become increasingly well-known abroad.


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  • His work has been well received in translation, especially his autobiographical A Tale of Love and Darkness. Oz had become an international man of letters, publishing often in European journals; his work has appeared in more than editions and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Yet a position that claims moral authority based on literary endeavors is treacherous terrain for a writer, and Oz's position in support of Israel's action in the war between Israel and Hizbullah seems to prove so.

    In poetic terms A Tale of Love and Darkness might have touched Oz's creative boundary, though he might also turn out to be as prolific and as innovative as his model Shmuel Yosef Agnon was in the latter part of his writing. Source Citation: "Amos Oz.


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    Michael R. Detroit: Gale Group, Gale Biography In Context. Related Papers. In Memoriam-Amos Oz By Raphael Cohen-almagor. Being an Immigrant in One's Homeland The reflection of narratives of immigration in contemporary Israeli literature. By Adia Mendelson-Maoz.

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