Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beit Biyalik

This is the home of Hayyim Nahman Biyalik, one of the most important modern Hebrew poets and an important figure in the reinvention of the Hebrew language. I visited there today before the start of the conference.

Photography isn't permitted inside, but it's a lovely house, whitewashed, painted with bright colors and with dark trim — one of my favorite combinations, it reminds me a bit of Barcelona. The exhibition is done very well, too. Bialik's study and library are still set up, and much of his paper ephemera is still on display. It didn't seem to have been the intention, but the exhibit very much highlighted the ways in which modern Hebrew literature, and especially poetry, picked up where the medieval poets left off. I almost fell over to see one of Bialik's drafts where he had marked out the meter — historically, Hebrew poetry utilizes Arabic meter since it doesn't have its own native system of of quantitative metrics. And they had his copy of the Tahkemoni, an important work of literary rhymed prose from the thirteenth century, as well as a variety of other medieval texts, on display in the library.

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