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Starting with a discussion on the elements of the genre of alternative (counterfactual) history and on its place between the poles of historical determinism and relativism, this book develops a literary theory of the historical alternativeness principle and applies it to the reading of The City with All That is Therein (Ir u-mloa) – one of the most important and less-studied books of the greatest Israeli writer, Nobel Prize winner S.Y. Agnon (1887-1970). The investigation reveals that this principle is by no means inherent solely in modernism and postmodernism, but lies at the very basis of the reading process, particularly at the levels of plot and character origination, and historical and historiographical conceptions that underlie the author’s imagination.
The book is intended for all who are interested in modern literature and theory.
Dr Roman Katsman teaches modern Hebrew literature, as well as poetics and theory at the Department of Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He is the author of four books and numerous articles on Hebrew and Slavic literatures, mythopoesis and chaos theory, literary anthropology and gestures, rhetoric and sincerity, and Jewish-Russian literature and thought.
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