They call you the Parisian: On Thera by Zeruya Shalev

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Zeruya Shalev writes on marital crises through the prism of Jewish legends and Greek myths on catastrophic themes. The destruction of the Second Temple, the rift between the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judea, and an ancient earthquake that decimates an entire civilization serve as analogies to events in the personal lives of her characters. The article examines Shalev's novel Thera, whose protagonists are archeologists married to one another, and Wilhelm Jensen's Gardiva: A Pompeiian Fancy (1903)-whose protagonist is also an archeologist, who received a fascinating treatment in Sigmund Freud's Delusion and Dream in Wilhelm Jensen's Gardiva (1907). Both Shalev's Thera and Jensen's Gardiva use an ancient artwork related to a cataclysmic natural disaster to stimulate the male protagonist's falling in love with a woman. The scientific archeological investigation serves as an excuse, camouflage, and metaphor for real life taking place in the present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalHebrew Studies
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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