Jacqueline Kahanoff: A Levantine Woman

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Jacqueline Kahanoff: A Levantine Woman is the first intellectual biography of this remarkable Egyptian-Jewish intellectual, whose work has secured her place in literary pantheon as a herald of Levantine, Mediterranean, and transnational culture. Growing up Jewish in cosmopolitan Egypt in the 1920s and 1930s, Jacqueline Kahanoff experienced a bustling Middle East enriched by diverse languages, religions, and peoples who nonetheless were deeply connected to each other through history, business, daily practices, and shared landscape.
At the age of twenty-four, Kahanoff immigrated to the United States. Her stories, essays, and short autobiographical novel attest to her penchant to cross boundaries, generations, social classes, sexes, and Western and Eastern constructs. After immigrating to Israel in the early 1950s, she critically addressed the country's "provinciality" and "ethnic nationalism" as seen through her conception of a transnational Levantine culture. Through many writings, Kahanoff set forth her distinctive vision of Israel as a Mediterranean country with a broad, multicultural Levantine identity.
Drawing on an extensive array of sources, ranging from interviews with Jacqueline Kahanoff's acquaintances and contemporaries to unpublished writings, David Ohana explores her fascinating life and intellectual journey from Cairo to Tel Aviv. The encompassing vision of a Levantine Israel made Kahanoff the initiator of a different cultural possibility, more extensive than that offered in her time, and also, perhaps, than is offered today.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIndiana University Press
Number of pages392
ISBN (Electronic)9780253066909, 9780253066893
ISBN (Print)9780253066886, 9780253066879
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Publication series

NamePerspectives on Israel studies
PublisherIndiana University Press


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