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A. B. Yehoshua
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A. B. Yehoshua
A B Yehoshua DSC0153.jpg
BornAvraham B. Yehoshua
(1936-12-09) December 9, 1936 (age 85)
Jerusalem, Mandatory Palestine
  • Novelist
  • essayist
  • short story writer
  • playwright
Alma materHebrew University of Jerusalem (BA, 1961)
Teachers College (1962)
Sorbonne (MA, French Literature)
Literary movementIsraeli "New Wave"
Notable worksMr. Mani (1990); The Lover (1977); "Facing the Forest"
Notable awardsACUM Prize
National Jewish Book Award
1990, 1993
Israel Prize for Literature
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2006 A Woman in Jerusalem
SpouseDr. Rivka Kirsninski (m. 1960)
Abraham B. Yehoshua (Hebrew: א.ב. יהושע, December 9, 1936-June 14, 2022) was an Israeli novelist, essayist, and playwright, published as A. B. Yehoshua. The New York Times called him the "Israeli Faulkner".
1 Biography
2 Literary career
3 Views and opinions
4 Recognition and awards
6 Works translated into English
6.1 Novels
6.2 Short stories
6.3 Essays
6.4 Plays
7 See also
8 References
9 Further reading
9.1 Books
9.2 Journal articles
10 Book articles
11 External links
Avraham ("Boolie") Yehoshua was born to a fifth-generation Jerusalem family of Sephardi origin. His father, Yaakov Yehoshua, was a scholar and author specializing in the history of Jerusalem. His mother, Malka Rosilio, immigrated from Morocco in 1932. He grew up in Jerusalem's Kerem Avraham neighborhood.
Yehoshua served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army from 1954 to 1957. He attended Gymnasia Rehavia. After studying literature and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he began teaching. He lived in Jerusalem's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.
From 1963 to 1967, Yehoshua lived and taught in Paris and served as the General Secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students. Since 1972, he has taught Comparative and Hebrew Literature at the University of Haifa, where he holds the rank of Full Professor. In 1975 he was a writer-in-residence at St Cross College, Oxford. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard (1977), the University of Chicago (1988, 1997, 2000) and Princeton (1992).
Yehoshua was married to Rivka, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, until her death in 2016. He died on June 14, 2022. He us survived by a daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren.
Literary career
Yehoshua with his wife, Rivka (1990s)
From the end of his military service, Yehoshua began to publish fiction. His first book of stories, Mot Hazaken (The Death of the Old Man), was published in 1962. He became a prominent figure in the "new wave" generation of Israeli writers, who differed from their predecessors in focussing more closely on the individual, and on interpersonal concerns, rather than the psychology of a group. Yehoshua names Franz Kafka, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, and William Faulkner as formative influences. Harold Bloom wrote an article about Yehoshua's A Late Divorce in The New York Times, mentioning the work again in his The Western Canon.
Yehoshua is the author of eleven novels, three books of short stories, four plays, and four collections of essays, including Ahizat Moledet (Homeland Lesson, 2008), a book of reflections on identity and literature. His best received novel, Mr Mani, is a multigenerational look at Jewish identity and Israel through five conversations that go backwards in time to cover over 200 years of Jewish life in Jerusalem and around the Mediterranean basin. It was adapted for television as a five-part multilingual series by director Ram Loevy. As do many of his works, his eighth novel, Friendly Fire, explores the nature of dysfunctional family relationships in a drama that moves back and forth between Israel and Tanzania.
His works have been translated and published in 28 countries; many have been adapted for film, television, theatre, and opera.
Views and opinions
Yehoshua is an Israeli Peace Movement activist. He freely airs his political views in essays and interviews, and attended the signing of the Geneva Accord. Yehoshua is both a long-standing critic of the Israeli occupation and also of Palestinian political culture.
He and other intellectuals mobilized on behalf of the dovish New Movement before the 2009 elections in Israel.
According to La Stampa, before the 2008–2009 Israel-Gaza conflict he published an appeal to Gaza residents urging them to end the violence. He explained why the Israeli operation was necessary and why it needed to end: "Precisely because the Gazans are our neighbors, we need to be proportionate in this operation. We need to try to reach a cease-fire as quickly as possible. We will always be neighbors, so the less blood is shed, the better the future will be. Yehoshua added that he would be happy for the border crossings to be opened completely and for Palestinians to work in Israel as part of a cease-fire.
Yehoshua was criticized by the American Jewish community for his statement that a "full Jewish life could only be had in the Jewish state." He claimed that Jews elsewhere were only "playing with Judaism.""Diaspora Judaism is masturbation," Yehoshua told editors and reporters at The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he said, it is "the real thing."
Recognition and awards
Mr. Mani manuscript, National Library of Israel
In 1972, A.B. Yehoshua received the Prime Minister's Prize for Hebrew Literary Works.
In 1983, he was awarded the Brenner Prize.
In 1986, he received the Alterman Prize.
In 1989, he was a co-recipient (jointly with Avner Treinin) of the Bialik Prize for literature.
In 1995, he was awarded the Israel Prize for Hebrew literature.
He has also won the National Jewish Book Award for Five seasons in 1990 and the Koret Jewish Book Award in the U.S., as well as the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Literary Prize in the United Kingdom.
Yehoshua was shortlisted in 2005 for the first Man Booker International Prize.
In 2006, "A Woman in Jerusalem" was awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
In Italy, he has received the Grinzane Cavour Award, the Flaiano Superprize, the Giovanni Boccaccio Prize, and the Viareggio Prize for Lifetime Achievement. In 2003, his novel The Liberated Bride won both the Premio Napoli and the Lampedusa Literary Prize. Friendly Fire won the Premio Roma in 2008.
He has received honorary doctorates from Hebrew Union College (1990), Tel Aviv University (1998), Torino University (1999), Bar-Ilan University (2000), and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa (2012).
In November 2012, Yehoshua received the Prix Médicis étranger for his novel חסד ספרדי (English: The Retrospective; French: Rétrospective).
In 2017 he received the Dan David Prize Award.
.... change nationalities like jackets. Once they were Polish and Russian; now they are British and American. One day they could choose to be Chinese or Singaporean...For me, Avraham Yehoshua, there is no alternative... I cannot keep my identity outside Israel. Israeli is my skin, not my jacket.
The majority of the public here is telling you this explicitly... It also doesn't want more Jewish immigration. It is crowded enough here.
The Palestinians are in a situation of insanity reminiscent of the insanity of the German people in the Nazi period. The Palestinians are not the first people that the Jewish people has driven insane.
(Subsequent clarification by Yehoshua) I ask myself a question that must be asked: What brought the Germans and what is bringing the Palestinians to such hatred of us? ... We have a tough history. We came here out of a Jewish experience, and the settlements are messing it up.
e are not bent on killing Palestinian children to avenge the killing of our children. All we are trying to do is get their leaders to stop this senseless and wicked aggression, and it is only because of the tragic and deliberate mingling between Hamas fighters and the civilian population that children, too, are unfortunately being killed. The fact is that since the disengagement, Hamas has fired only at civilians. Even in this war, to my astonishment, I see that they are not aiming at the army concentrations along the border but time and again at civilian communities.
Works translated into English
A Late Divorce . London, Harvill Press, 1984. Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1984. London, Sphere/Abacus Books, 1985. New York, Dutton, 1985. San Diego, Harcourt Brace, 1993. ISBN 978-0-15-649447-2. London, Halban Publishers 2005. ISBN 187-0-01-5959.
Five Seasons . New York, Doubleday, 1989. New York, Dutton Obelisk, 1989. London, Collins, 1989. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1990. London, Fontana, 1990, ISBN 978-1-870015-94-3. London, Halban Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1870015-94-0.
Mr. Mani . New York, Doubleday, 1992. London, Collins, 1992. London, Peter Halban, 1993, 2002 ISBN 1-870015-77-0. San Diego, Harvest/HBJ, 1993. London, Phoenix/Orion Books, 1994. ISBN 978-1-85799-185-7.
Open Heart . Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1995. London, Halban Publishers, 1996, ISBN 978-1-87-001563-9. San Diego, Harvest/HBJ, 1997. ISBN 978-0-15-600484-8.
A Journey to the End of the Millennium . New York, Doubleday & Co., 1999. London, Peter Halban, 1999. ISBN 1-870015-71-1.
The Liberated Bride . London, Peter Halban, 2003, 2004, 2006. ISBN 1-870015-86-X.
A Woman in Jerusalem . London, Halban Publishers, 2006, 2011. ISBN 978-1-905559-24-4. New York, Harcourt, 2006. ISBN 978-0-15-101226-8.
Friendly Fire: A Duet London, Halban Publishers, 2008, ISBN 978-1-905559-19-0. New York, Harcourt 2008, ISBN 978-0-15-101419-4.
The Retrospective . New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. ISBN 978-0-547496-96-2. London, Halban Publishers, 2013. ISBN 978-1-905559-56-5.
The Extra, 2014
The Tunnel, New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt The Tunnel, 2020 August 4 ISBN 978-1-328622-55-6. London, Halban Publishers The Tunnel, 2020 February 27 ISBN 978-1-912600-03-8.
Short stories
Early in the Summer of 1970 . Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1977. London, Heinemann, 1980. New York, Berkley Publishing, 1981. London, Fontana Paperbacks, 1990. ISBN 978-0-385-02590-4
Three Days and a Child . Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1970. London, Peter Owen, 1971. ISBN 978-0-7206-0161-9
The Continuing Silence of a Poet. London, Peter Halban, 1988, 1999, ISBN 1-870015-73-8. London, Fontana Paperbacks, 1990. London, New York, Penguin, 1991. Syracuse, N.Y., Syracuse University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-8156-0559-1
Israel. London, Collins, 1988. New York, Harper & Row, 1988. Jerusalem, Steimatzky/Collins Harvill, 1988.
Between Right and Right . Garden City N.Y., Doubleday, 1981. ISBN 978-0-385-17035-2
The Terrible Power of a Minor Guilt . New York, Syracuse University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-8156-0656-7
"An Attempt to Identify the Root Cause of Antisemitism", Azure (Spring 2008).
A Night in May . Tel Aviv, Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, 1974.
Possessions . Portsmouth, Heinemann, 1993.
Journey to the End of the Millennium, libretto for opera with music by Yosef Bardnaashvili. Premiered at Israeli Opera, May 2005.
A Tale of Two Zionists. A play of 1934 meeting of Vladimir Jabotinsky and David Ben-Gurion 2012
See also
Literature portal
List of Israel Prize recipients
List of Bialik Prize recipients
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