On Zionism and Melancholia tells the story of the early Zionist settlement in Palestine from the viewpoint of failure and melancholia. An untold history of this period ignores the high rate of suicides and cases of clinical depression among the Zionist pioneers. As a case study I take the novels and diaries of the author Israel Zarchi. Zarchi, who died at the age of 38, was the first translator of Heinrich von Kleist, Joseph Konrad, and Janusz Korczak. He published six novels and seven collections of stories, and was close to the national poet Bialik, the Nobel prize winner Agnon, and the founder of history of Hebrew literature, Joseph Klausner. His writing, forgotten immediately after his death in 1947, started from a utopian and a revivalist viewpoint and quickly shifted to a deep melancholic understanding of the Jewish Yishuv. Shortly before his death, it changed again to a growing stress on myth and apocalypse.
Nitzan Lebovic is an Associate Professor of History and the Apter Chair of Holocaust Studies and Ethical Values, Lehigh University. He is the author of The Philosophy of Life and Death: Ludwig Klages and the rise of a Nazi Biopolitics(2013) and Zionism and Melancholy: The Short Life of Israel Zarchi (2019). He co-edited books and special issues about Catastrophes, Nihilism, Political Theology, Complicity and Dissent.
04.07.2019 | 18:00 c.t. - 20:00
Selma Stern Zentrum
Sophienstraße 22 a, Raum 0.01