Sunday, July 26, 2015

2015-07-26 Yitzhaq Shami (1888-1949) // יצחק שמי

In September, "The Mill of Life" - collected works of the Hebrew author Yitzhaq Shami (1888-1949) - will be released.

Next month, The Mill of Life, the collected works of Yitzhaq Shami, is scheduled to appear in Hebrew by Zemora Bitan et al - the largest publisher in Israel.  The volume appears only now in Hebrew, over 60 years after Shami's passing away, as a result of the convoluted history of the writer and his work:

- In 2000, as a family relation and holder of the rights (not for profit), I published the volume in English under the title "Hebron Stories".  The volume won critical acclaim, and is now out of print.  Used copies are sold online for exorbitant prices as collectors' items.

- For the cover of the English edition, writer Anton Shammas wrote that Shami was the only one, who expressed an authentic Palestinian voice in Hebrew literature.

- In 2004, the volume appeared in French, published by the Calvinist Church of Switzerland, at their initiative, under the tile "Nouvelles d'Hebron".  Their interest was surprising, especially since reading their catalogue it appeared that it was the first ever fiction that they published.  Prior to that, they only published religious works.

- In 2004, the Palestinian Academic Association, under the influence of the late Mahmoud Darwish, recognized Shami as one of the important Palestinian authors of the 20th century,.

Shami's acceptance in Hebrew literature was complex as well:

- YH Brenner, an influential figure in early modern Hebrew literature, doomed Shami's work by noting it in a landmark essay on Hebrew literature as what should not be part of the new Hebrew genre.

- In the late 1920s, following the publication of "Vengeance of the Fathers", Hebrew U. Prof Y Klausner tried to propose Shami for the Nobel prize in literature.

- Hebrew U Prof G Shaked wrote that Shami was "an Arab writer, who wrote in Hebrew".  With it, Shaked also wrote of Shami: "Often, the wild flowers, growing on the margins of the avenue are much prettier than the cultivated flowers, planted in its middle".

- Hebrew U Prof D Miron wrote a couple of years ago: "Work on Shami should cease.  Shami wrote in Arabic..." Miron claimed that Shami wrote a personal diary in Arabic, which was kept in an archive, and that until what was written there was elucidated, Shami's works shouldn't be published in Hebrew... In conjunction with the publication of Shami's work, I've engaged in extensive archival work over the past 20 years, but I have failed to discover the diary, which could have been a unique document.

- Haaretz daily has repeatedly mentioned Shami in recent years as one, whose portrait should appear on an Israeli currency note.

- Acclaimed, contemporary Hebrew writers AB Yehoshua and S. Michael contributed appreciative notes for the cover of the Hebrew edition (copied below), noting his unique power as a storyteller and his unique mastery of the Hebrew language.

In conjunction with signing the contract for the publication of the Hebrew volume, Beer-Sheva U Prof Y Schwartz (on behalf of the publisher),  asked for my perspective on Shami.  In response, I wrote to Prof Schwarz:

Yitzhaq Shami was one of the best storytellers in early modern Hebrew literature, excelling in depicting human existence at its most despicable.  Like Amos and Michah, he was a native of the Judean mountains; but his canvas spanned from the Arabian deserts, through Cairo, the Negev, the Judean mountains, Trans-Jordan, Damascus, and Baghdad, to the Balkans.

In recognition of the historic significance of the publication of Shami's collected works in Hebrew, the Hebrew Writers' Association promised to hold a special launching reception.

מדוע רק מתי מעט יודעים מיהו יצחק שמי

אם שמי היה סופר משובח כל כך, כיצד אפשר להסביר את העובדה שהוא נעדר מרשימת השמות הגדולים בפנתיאון הספרות העברית החדשה
יגאל שוורץ ויוסף צרניק
22.04.2015 10:33

שומר המסגד האחרון

סיפור מעיזבונו של יצחק שמי, מהססגוניים שבסופרים העברים, שנשאר בכתב יד ולא ראה מעולם אור. אנו מפרסמים לראשונה את פרק הפתיחה שלו
יצחק שמי
26.07.2013 12:19

הסופר היהודי-ערבי שנשכח בישראל ואומץ על ידי הפלסטינים

על רקע הפולמוס שפרץ סביב אי-ייצוגם של יוצרים מזרחים על שטרי הכסף, מתעוררת השאלה אם הודר יצחק שמי מהקאנון כי ראה את עצמו עברי-פלסטיני
אליהו שמיר ויוסף צרניק
26.07.2013 12:19

על שושנה שבבו שמעתם, נבערים שכמותכם?

לא צריך לחזור עד לימי הביניים כדי לאתר יוצרים עברים שאינם אשכנזים. אבל כשגם תוכנית הלימודים מתנכרת אליהם, מה הפלא שאיש אינו מכיר

אלוהי אברהם - אל נקמות?

01.02.2005 00:00 עודכן ב: 15:19

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