The Motif of the Nevel (Harp/Lyre) in the Poetry of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) Period
Keywords:Nevel, Poetry, Haskalah, Vignette or Graphic Attribute, Double Impact Model, Book Title, Literary Figure
This article delineates the central place of the Hebrew musical instrument, the nevel (translated alternatively as harp/lyre), within the framework of the literary culture of the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment; 18th-19th centuries). Adapting the “double impact” model of Hebrew Haskalah poetry, we examine the motif of the musical instrument in three channels: the instrument as it appears as a vignette or graphic attribute on the title pages of books; the inclusion of the word nevel in book titles; and the nevel as a literary figure in Hebrew maskilic poetry. This article points to the various textual aspects of the motif as depicted by the Haskalah poets, who betray both their obvious debt to the biblical tradition as well as the clear influence of the classic lyric tradition that was cultivated in contemporary European literature.