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Language in Time of Revolution$
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Benjamin Harshav

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079588

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079588.001.0001

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The Revival of Written Hebrew

The Revival of Written Hebrew

(p.120) Twenty-Five The Revival of Written Hebrew
Language in Time of Revolution

Benjamin Harshav

University of California Press

The motif of language's revival was not invented by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda but was a lingering sentiment in Haskala circles in Lithuania. After several more poems and introductions, they finally got to the novel, opening in a Paris dive where murderers and robbers drink their wine; the concept of such a dive is explained by the translator in the text itself—for his dear readers had presumably never seen one. During the Enlightenment, those were scattered but persistent efforts, and gradually, or in spurts, the trend was broadened. In terms of the revival of the language, we encounter several important achievements here. The great expansion of original imaginative literature in Hebrew—the so-called “Renaissance Period” of Hebrew literature—occurred in Russia when the Haslzala broke down, that is, after Ben-Yehuda had gone off to the remote Ottoman province of Palestine.

Keywords:   language, revival, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Haskala, Lithuania, Enlightenment, literature, Renaissance, Russia

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