1st Edition

Amos Oz’s Two Pens Between Literature and Politics

Edited By Arie M. Dubnov Copyright 2023

    The Hebrew novelist and political essayist, Amoz Oz (1939-2018), arguably Israel’s leading intellectual, was fond of describing himself as using two different pens - the first used to write works of prose and fiction, and the other to criticize the government and advocate for a political change. This volume revisits the two pens parable. It brings together scholars from various disciplines who assess Amos Oz's dual role in Israeli culture and society as an immensely popular novelist and a leading public intellectual. Next to offering an intellectual portrait, the chapters in this book highlight some of Oz's seminal works, examine their reception, evaluate key political and literary debates he was involved in, as well as trace some of the connections between the two realms of his activity. This book is a fascinating read for students, researchers, and academics of Israeli politics, history, literature, and culture. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Israeli History and are accompanied by a new afterword by the Israeli novelist Lilah Nethanel.

    Introduction: Amos Oz’s two pens
    Arie M. Dubnov

    1. Amos Oz and the politics of identity: A reassessment
    Eran Kaplan

    2. The greatness of smallness: Amos Oz, Sherwood Anderson, and the American presence in Hebrew Literature.
    Karen Grumberg

    3. The American Oz: Notes on translation and reception
    Omri Asscher

    4. Amos Oz: A humanist in the darkness
    David Ohana

    5. "Now we shall reveal a little secret" first person plural and lyrical fluidity in the works of Amos Oz
    Vered Karti Shemtov

    6. "Like a cow that gave birth to a seagull": Amos Oz, Yoel Hoffmann and the birth of The Same Sea
    Neta Stahl

    7. Memory and space in the autobiographical writings of Amos Oz and Ronit Matalon
    Adia Mendelson-Maoz

    8. Amos Oz: The lighthouse
    Yigal Schwartz

    9. Love, compassion, and longing
    Nurith Gertz

    Reading Amos Oz Today
    Lilah Nethanel


    Arie M. Dubnov is Associate Professor of History and the Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies at the George Washington University, USA. His publications include the intellectual biography Isaiah Berlin: The Journey of a Jewish Liberal (2012), and two edited volumes, Zionism - A View from the Outside (2010 [in Hebrew]) and Partitions: A Transnational History of Twentieth-century Territorial Separatism (2019, co-edited with Laura Robson).