Mapu, Abraham

Mapu, Abraham mäˈpo͞o [key], 1808–67, Lithuanian novelist who wrote in Hebrew. For many years an impoverished, itinerant schoolmaster, Mapu gained financial security when he was appointed teacher in a government school for Jewish children. Mapu is considered the creator of the Hebrew novel. Influenced by French romantic literature, he wrote heavily plotted novels about life in ancient Palestine, which he contrasted favorably with 19th-century Jewish life. His style is fresh and poetic, almost biblical in its simple grandeur. Among his novels are Ayit Zanua [the hypocrite] (1858) and Ahavat Zion (1853; tr. Amonon, Prince and Peasant, 1887).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Hebrew Literature: Biographies