Jewish Studies | Modern Hebrew Literature in English
L380 | 26140 | S. Katz

JSTU-L 380 Modern Hebrew Literature in English /3 cr./Stephen Katz
MWF 2:30-3:20

The course is intended to acquaint students with the chief issues,
forms, and writers of modern Hebrew literature active in the first
half of the 20th century. L380 does not require or assume any
previous acquaintance with Hebrew or Hebrew literature.
Readings (all in English) will consist primarily of representative
short stories and a novel. Some selections of poetry, when assigned,
will be read in class. The primary purpose of the readings will be
to introduce students to the culture of the shtetl, the small east
European Jewish hamlet. We will be exploring the way in which
literature responds and reflects major historical events in the
Jewish experience of the early 20th century. In that regard, we
shall explore the many forces prompting the protagonists' rebellion
against that way of life with its insular piety. Yet, having
abandoned the ways and values of the shtetl, the youth of those days
are depicted as being left with the burden of seeking out new roots
and finding a meaning for their lives.

Under the phenomenon of this large cultural transformation, as we
shall see, Hebrew literature had to contend with and give expression
to the most central events and themes of modern times affecting
Jewish life: the loss of innocence and tradition in a modern,
secular, world; nationalism; the Holocaust; the rebirth of Israel;
wars, peace and the individual; and the image of the new Israeli.

Grades will be based on a minimum of four writing assignments to be
done outside of class as well as at least one in class assigment may
serve as the final. An optional paper will be made available to
those wishing to do extra-credit work.

Fulfills: Jewish Studies Language/Literature or History & Society
course; A&H; Culture Studies List A