Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Modern Hebrew Literature in English
N587 | 30522 | Stephen Katz
02:30P-03:45P TR BH 345
ABOVE CLASS OPEN TO GRADUATES ONLY
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 twentieth century. The course carries foreign language culture
option credit and does not require or assume any previous acquaintance
with Hebrew or Hebrew literature.
Readings will consist primarily of representative short stories and a
novel, all in English translation. 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 twentieth 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; 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 may serve as
the final. An optional paper will be made available to those wishing
to do extra credit work.