Bartov, Hanoch

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BARTOV, HANOCH (1926– ), Israeli novelist. Bartov, who was born in Petaḥ Tikvah, served in the Jewish Brigade during World War ii and during the War of Independence served in the Israel Army. Bartov was a member of kibbutz Ein ha-Ḥoresh, and a reporter for the daily La-Merḥav. He served as cultural attaché at the Israel Embassy in London, in 1966–68. A prolific writer, his writings include stories, novels, plays, and journalism, written in the more than five decades that have passed since the publication of his first novel, Ha-Ḥeshbon ve-ha-Nefesh ("The Reckoning and the Soul," 1953), in which he discussed the ideological disillusionment of Israeli youth when they returned to civilian life after the War of Independence. Problems of new immigrants are treated in the novel Shesh Kenafayim le-Eḥad (1954; Everyone Had Six Wings, 1974), which he later adapted for the stage. A visit to the U.S. is vividly recorded in the travel-book Arba'ah Yisre'elim ve-Khol Amerikah ("Four Israelis and All The U.S.A.," 1961). The subject of Piẓei Bagrut (1965; The Brigade, 1967) is the Jewish Brigade during World War ii and the conflict between Jewish morality and the wish to avenge the Holocaust. For this novel, one of the finest Hebrew examples of an Israeli Bildungsroman, Bartov was awarded the Shlonsky Prize. Another novel in this genre is Bartov's Shel Mi Attah Yeled? (1988; Whose Little Boy are You?), recollecting childhood experiences in one of Israel's oldest moshavot. Bartov's realistic style is always suffused with humor and a touch of irony. The complex, dynamic Israeli identity is at the heart of all his works. Other works include: Ha-Shuk ha-Katan ("The Small Market," 1957); S'a ha-Bayta, Yonatan ("Go Home, Jonathan," 1962). Be-Emẓa ha-Roman ("In the Middle of It All," 1988), which won Bartov the Bialik Prize, tells the life story of Balfour Shub, a writer, as it is reconstructed by his son, who returns from the United States with his father's coffin and a literary inheritance consisting of 26 tapes. The gap between generations, the relations of fathers and sons, is a recurring motif in the prose of Bartov. The protagonist in Zeh Ishl Medaber ("Ishl Speaking," 1990), is yet another account of a life full of activity intertwined with political events in Israel. Regel Aḥat Ba-Ḥuẓ ("Halfway Out," 1994), describes the effects of World War ii on life in British-ruled Israel, while the novella Lev Shafukh ("A Heart Poured Out," 2001) tells of an encounter between two men representing two worlds: Amos Gefen, a well-known Hebrew writer of Ashkenazi origin, and Sami Sasson, a house painter of Oriental origin, hired to whitewash the writer's apartment. The ups and downs of married life is one of the main issues in the novella, as in Bartov's 2004 novel Mi-Tom ad Tom ("From Innocence to Innocence").

In 1978 Bartov was awarded the Yiẓḥak Sadeh Prize for military literature for his Dado, a study of Lt.-General David *Elazar (Eng. trans. 1981). Other works include Arba'a Yisra'elim be-Ḥaẓar Saint James (1969); An Israeli at the Court of St. James (1971) and the travel account "A Fair in Moscow" (1988).

add. bibliography:

G. Shaked, Ha-Sipporet ha-Ivrit, 4 (1993), 81–86; idem, in: Haaretz, Sefarim (Oct. 12, 1994); M. Gilboa, Piẓei Zehut: Iyyunim bi-Yeẓirato shel H. Bartov (1988); E. Shai, in: Ma'ariv (Oct. 7, 1994); A. Feinberg, in: Modern Hebrew Literature 11 (1985); M. Pelleg, in: Haaretz, Sefarim (Apr. 2, 2002); K. Feit, in: Haaretz, Sefarim (Jan. 28, 2004). I. Perlis, in: Al ha-Mishmar (Oct. 10, 1980); Z. Shamir, in: Maariv (Sept. 26, 1980); M. Pelli, "A Late Encounter with the Holocaust: Paradigms, Rhythm and Concepts in The Brigade by H. Bartov," in: Hebrew Studies 22 (1981), 117–254; E. Ben Ezer, in: Al ha-Mishmar (Jan. 16, 1981); A. Levit, in: Maariv (July 27, 1984); M. Gilboa, "Amerika ke-Makom, ke-Metaforah ukhsemel bi-Shelosha Romanim," in: Migvan (1988), 113–26; Z. Shamir, "H. BartovSofer 'Ba'al Maḥshavot,'" in: Moznayim 64, 5 (1990), 53–55; H. Helperin, "Mane'ul u-Vari'aḥ ve-Lev Shafukh," in: Moznayim 76, 3 (2002), 14–16; A. Feldman, "Sippuro shel Peẓa," in: Moznayim 78, 2 (2004), 7–10.

[Gitta (Aszkenazy) Avinor /

Anat Feinberg (2nd ed.)]