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Ruth Wisse Teaches Daniel Deronda

George Eliot’s Novel of Jewish Nationalism

  • Videos

    8 Episodes

    In eight definitive lectures, Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse explores the greatest novel of Jewish nationalism, guiding you through the drama, the romance, the politics, and the moral imagination of Daniel Deronda.

  • Guide

    Study Guide

    Print key passages from Daniel Deronda, and explore the themes of each episode with discussion questions. Use our guide to think about the novel in the privacy of your own study, in the classroom, or in a reading group.

  • $40

    Enrollment Cost

Meet Ruth Wisse

Meet Ruth Wisse

Preeminent teacher and scholar Ruth Wisse recently retired from her position as Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and is currently the Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund.

Her books on literary subjects include an edition of Jacob Glatstein’s two-volume fictional memoir, The Glatstein ChroniclesThe Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey Through Literature and Culture, and A Little Love in Big Manhattan. She is also the author of two political studies, If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews and Jews and Power. Her most recent book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor, a volume in the Tikvah Fund’s Library of Jewish Ideas, was recently published by Princeton University Press.

Course Highlights

  • The Phenomenon of the Novel

  • The Problem of Nationalism

  • Home and Nation

  • New Woman, New Problems

  • Women and the Jewish People

  • The Nation as Family

6+

6+ Hours of Videos & Bonus Content

Press Coverage


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Episodes

01 The Theme of Beauty and Goodness

Meet two extraordinary women: George Eliot, the author of Daniel Deronda, and her character Gwendolen Harleth.

  • The Theme of Beauty and Goodness | 53:55

  • Guide

    Study Guide

  • Mp3

    MP3

03 “Alien Invaders”: Jewish Figures in Deronda’s Britain

Daniel Deronda introduces the Jewish characters Herr Klesmer and Mirah Lapidoth in ways that reflect the dilemmas of modern Jewry.

  • “Alien Invaders”: Jewish Figures in Deronda’s Britain | 45:01

  • Guide

    Study Guide

  • Mp3

    MP3

04 The Theme of Evil

Early in the novel, Gwendolen is badly frightened by a specter of death, but she does not recognize evil when it enters the novel through the figure of Henleigh Mallinger Grandcourt.

  • The Theme of Evil | 40:51

  • Guide

    Study Guide

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    MP3

05 The Character and Education of Daniel Deronda

Brought up as an English gentleman with the paths of scholarship and government open before him, by the end of the novel Daniel Deronda chooses to embrace Judaism and to dedicate himself to Jewish national renewal.

  • The Character and Education of Daniel Deronda | 46:21

  • Guide

    Study Guide

  • Mp3

    MP3

06 Jewish Nationalism

Decades before Theodor Herzl wrote The Jewish State, George Eliot saw the necessity for the Jewish people to recover their national independence in their ancestral homeland.

  • Jewish Nationalism | 39:28

  • Guide

    Study Guide

  • Mp3

    MP3

07 How Fiction Differs from Philosophy

George Eliot, who could write powerful essays, regularly chose to present social and political ideas in fictional form.

  • How Fiction Differs from Philosophy | 37:58

  • Guide

    Study Guide

  • Mp3

    MP3

Decades before Herzl, George Eliot wrote a masterpiece of Zionist thought in novel form. Explore Daniel Deronda with Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse.

Enroll for $40.