||A biography and overview of the writings of Joseph Hayyim Brenner (1881–1921), Hebrew writer. A disciple of the "psychology" approach to literature and a writer of the "uprooted" generation, Brenner became a key figure of the school in modern Hebrew literature; he focused and ruthlessly exposed the anxieties, self-probing, and despair of intellectual anti-heroes overwhelmed by life in a society that had lost meaning and direction. His fiction, bleak and fiercely honest, nourishes, however, a belief in artistic truth where faith in all else has failed. In style, he considered himself a follower of Berdyczewski, and in social outlook, a disciple of Mendele Mokher Seforim. Like many Hebrew writers of the early decades of the 20th century, he was mainly influenced by Russian literature, specifically by writers such as Tolstoy and Dostoevski, and by such European writers as Nietzsche and Hauptmann. Brenner, a novelist, critic, philosopher, translator, editor, and publisher, wrote in Hebrew and in Yiddish. He exercised a powerful personal influence, often exceeding his impact as a writer and a critic, on his generation, and on the following one. His colleagues and friends saw in him "a secular saint caught in a world that was not worthy of him" (H. Zeitlin) and he became their moral, social, and artistic yardstick. Brenner's approach to literature demanded a close link between the creative process, the artistic work, and real life.
Born in Novi Mlini (Ukraine), he studied in Yeshivot. From there he went to Gomel where he joined the Bund and published his first story Pat Lehem ("A Loaf of Bread") in Ha-Meliz (1900). His collection of short stories Me-Emek Akhor ("From the Valley of Trouble"), was published in 1901. In Ba-Horef ("In Winter," written in 1902 and published in Ha-Shilo'ah, Jan–Dec. 1903), a short novel, his independent literary personality emerges for the first time.
Brenner lived in Bialystok and Warsaw after 1900 and served in the Russian army from the end of 1901 to the beginning of 1904. At the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war, he escaped to London, where he was active in the Po'alei Zion movement. He worked in a printing shop and founded the periodical Ha-Me'orer (1906). In 1908, he moved to Lemberg where he was editor of the periodical Revivim (1908–09), and wrote a Yiddish monograph on the life of Abraham Mapu. In 1909, he migrated to Erez Israel where he worked in Haderah and later moved to Jerusalem. During World War I, Brenner became an Ottoman citizen so that he would not have to leave the country. He moved to Jaffa in 1915 and taught Hebrew grammar and literature in the Herzliah high school. When the Jews of Jaffa and Tel Aviv were driven out by the Turkish authorities he moved to Gan Shemu'el and Haderah, returning to Jaffa after the British conquest of Erez Israel. Brenner contributed to two important periodicals of the Second Aliyah: Ha-Po'el ha-Za'ir and Ha-Ahdut, and also to the weekly Kunteres. He continued publishing Revivim (1913–14), was the editor of the monthly Ha-Adamah (1920), and one of the founders of the Histadrut (1920). In 1921, he returned to Jaffa from Galilee and was murdered in the Abu Kabbir district during the Arab riots on May 2, 1921.