Modern Hebrew Literature Made into Films, by Lev Hakak

Article excerpt

Lanham: University Press of America, 2001. $52.00.

The considerably praiseworthy nature and scholarly meritorious character of this book stems from a phenomenon that will be hereby briefly addressed.

The principal unique character of this book derives from its innovative scholarly agenda and mission: to study modern Hebrew literature, while the latter is "metamorphasized" from the verbal genre to the visual genre of film. This metamorphosis, which amalgamates two different artistic genres that meet and interact in one aesthetic intersection, is achieved by producing two unexpectedly insightful perspectives. Accordingly, once a work of literature is extricated from its verbal genre and launches the artistic voyage that eventually leads to the visual genre of film, two new aesthetic perspectives are conceived: the verbal, literary genre is reintroduced from the perspective of the visual genre of film and the visual genre of film is observed via the perspective of the literary, verbal genre.

This way the book produces, both prudently and dexterously, a prolifically reciprocal dialogue between two different genres. The fact that the mutual interaction between the two different aesthetic genres consists of one work of art (a novel) enables the estimable operation of observing and studying the very same work of art from two different, and equally complementary points of view. In addition, observing the very same work of art from both perspectives, and also from a perspective that is alien to it by nature, casts a new, insightful light on the specific work of art.

The book addresses modern Hebrew literature and modern Israeli cinema, as well as the point at which they cross. …