Eve's Journey: Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition

Eve's Journey: Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition

Eve's Journey: Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition

Eve's Journey: Feminine Images in Hebraic Literary Tradition

Synopsis

The author draws on the vast body of Hebraic literary documents to illustrate how the female character is a mirror of her times as well as being a product of her creator''s imagination and conception of the woman's role in society and in fiction. The historical spectrum, provided by a discussion of Biblical narratives, Midrashic sources, documents of the Jewish mystics, Hasidic tales, and modern Hebrew works, allows an understanding of the metamorphosis that the female figure has experienced in her literary odyssey.

Excerpt

Eve's journey is not a single, clearly delineated chronological progress that leads directly from the biblical Eve to the collective feminine protagonist in modern Hebraic letters. It is many journeys, taken by a variety of female characters. All of them are, perhaps, splinters and fragments of the original Eve; but each and Every fictional female figure is also a mirror of her times, a product of her creator's mood and literary imagination, and of his conception of the woman's role in society and in fiction. Furthermore, Hebraic literature is a massive body of letters, a rich treasury of creative expressions and ingenious stylistic techniques, written over many centuries and in many different locations. Therefore, in my attempts to trace Eve's long and manifold journeys through the ages, I have confined myself to a number of images and to certain literary forms. Any critic's preference is, by definition, somewhat arbitrary, and mine is no different. While the choice of works and figures to be discussed was partly dictated by subjective tastes, the main focus of this study did provide objective criteria for selecting the literary texts. Before defining the boundaries and limits of the present study, it is important to note that it is not confined to a specific era; instead, it regards the whole historical spectrum of Hebraic letters as a storehouse from which to choose examples and illustrations. The reason for this rather broad perspective is the significance that is given here to the evolution and metamorphosis of a prototype. The present study aims at tracing the migrations of an image or a situation, focusing on the phenomenon of metempsychosis, the Hebraic gilgul, not in its metaphysical but in its literary sense. It follows a feminine
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