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Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society$
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Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912628.001.0001

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Where is Paradise? Place and Time in the Memoirs of Women from Yemen

Where is Paradise? Place and Time in the Memoirs of Women from Yemen

Chapter:
(p.206) Where is Paradise? Place and Time in the Memoirs of Women from Yemen
Source:
Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
Author(s):

Vered Madar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190912628.003.0012

This chapter examines how time and place are shaped in memoirs written by women from Yemen. More specifically, it considers the ways in which the women depict their birthplace and the transition from Yemen to Israel, and how their narratives are influenced by the larger narrative of the Yemenite Jewish community. The focus is on books published in the last thirty years by Yemeni-born women who immigrated to Israel in the 1940s and 1950s. The chapter shows that the Yemenite women’s memoirs are an illustration of the so-called biblical chronotope; they often portray Yemen as a garden of Eden and recast Jews of Yemen as biblical Jews. It also discusses the nostalgia applied by memoirists who cast Yemen as a biblical paradise, describing it as subversive nostalgia. Finally, it argues that the memoirs constitute a range of views, motivations, and forces that operate in the field of communal memory.

Keywords:   Time, place, memoirs, Yemen, Israel, Yemenite women, Jews, nostalgia, communal memory, biblical chronotope

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