Between God and Beast

An Examination of Amos Ozs Prose

By (author) Avraham Balaban

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 April 1993

Length of book:

268 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271026145

In Between God and Beast, Avraham Balaban argues that Oz's fiction has, from the outset, followed Jung's psychological theory. The major psychic processes that are depicted throughout Oz's prose are typically Jungian. For example, the treasure hunt, which is the deep structure of many of Oz's stories and novels, reflects the search for the "self" in which all the vying forces of one's psyche coexist peacefully. Oz uses many of the symbols of the treasure as well as of the self as they are presented by Jung. Many of the symbols examined in this study have never before been discussed in articles about Oz's writings.

Balaban also devotes a considerable portion of his study to the religious dimension of Oz's work as well as the impact of his personal life on his writings. Balaban reveals that from the beginning Oz's work has moved in two directions: it demonstrates an unceasing effort to delve ever deeper into the dark side of consciousness while heightening the contrast between the opposing elements vying within his protagonists; and it consistently attempts to bring those oppositions to peaceful coexistence and even to a fruitful mutual relationship.

“Balaban argues persuasively for the interpretation of Oz’s works along lines which are not political but Jungian, all the while drawing on sources from mythology and the Bible to demonstrate how Oz allegorizes the conflicts within each individual’s psyche. He supports his thesis with careful development of ideas and sets them out in a clear and lucid way. This study represents a significant contribution in its original Hebrew edition. Now, with its recent updated revisions for the English version, its value will be not only to bring the former up to date, but also to acquaint the English reader with the caliber of Hebrew literary scholarship and the talents of Amos Oz, one of Israel’s best fiction writers.”

—Stephen Katz, Indiana University