Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities
2003—2004 Forum on Belief
Assistant Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Inside the Apple: A Comprehensive Reading of Yehuda Amichai's Poetry
Gold is currently at work on a book-length study of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000). Considered a peer of lyrical masters such as Eliot, Auden, and Pound, Amichai was widely celebrated and published in 37 languages. Despite his immense popularity and commitment to English-language writing, however, scholars in English have yet to produce a significant analytical inquiry into his deceptively accessible poetry or a study detailing the trajectory of his career.
Addressing both critical lacunae at once, Gold will formulate a literary reading of Amichai's work grounded in biographical considerations of his life. The study will have a tripartite structure, corresponding with three major periods: Amichai's youth, including the Jewish faith and rituals, synagogue, Hebrew, and German, his mother tongue; the aftermath of his 1935 flight from Germany that ended the "innocent" period of his life and devolved into the development of camouflage as a poetic principle; and, finally, his assimilation into the environment of Israel as poet and soldier, initiating a final phase when the need to camouflage himself--literally blend into his surroundings--diminished, allowing him to revisit his religious past and draw semi-theological conclusions in his work.