Zionism and Melancholy

The Short Life of Israel Zarchi

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Nitzan Lebovic
New Jewish Philosophy and Thought
  • Bloomington, IN: 
    Indiana University Press
    , April
     146 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Philip Hollander forthcoming.


Nitzan Lebovic claims that political melancholy is the defining trait of a generation of Israelis born between the 1960s and 1990s. This cohort came of age during wars, occupation and intifada, cultural conflict, and the failure of the Oslo Accords. The atmosphere of militarism and conservative state politics left little room for democratic opposition or dissent. Lebovic and others depict the failure to respond not only as a result of institutional pressure but as the effect of a long-lasting "left-wing melancholy." In order to understand its grip on Israeli society, Lebovic turns to the novels and short stories of Israel Zarchi. For him, Zarchi aptly describes the gap between the utopian hope present  in Zionism since its early days and the melancholic reality of the present. Through personal engagement with Zarchi, Lebovic develops a philosophy of melancholy and shows how it pervades Israeli society.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Nitzan Lebovic is Associate Professor of History and Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values at Lehigh University.


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