Most Jews have heard of Tevye the Dairyman of Fiddler on the Roof fame, but few have read or explored the masterpieces of Yiddish literature. This seminar course will introduce students to the greatest authors of the modern Yiddish literary tradition from the late 19th century onward—and will demonstrate how everything people think they know about Yiddish-speaking culture is wrong. In fiction and poetry, these Yiddish writers and artists responded to the dramatic upheavals and cataclysms of their time. In a language and culture under enormous and constant pressure, they managed to invent entirely new styles to express it. Utterly unlike literature in any other language, we will get a taste of this fantastically rich tradition, whose clarity and candor show us the potential and limits of art in making sense of the world.
Dr. Dara Horn
Dara Horn received her PhD in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006, studying Hebrew and Yiddish. In 2007 she was chosen by Granta magazine as one of America’s “Best Young American Novelists.” Her first novel, In the Image, published by W.W. Norton when she was 25, received a 2003 National Jewish Book Award, the 2002 Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and the 2003 Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The World to Come (2006), received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the 2007 Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and has been translated into eleven languages. Her third novel, All Other Nights (2009), was one of Booklist’s 25 Best Books of the Decade. Her nonfiction e-book The Rescuer (2012) was published by Tablet and became a Kindle bestseller. Her fourth novel, A Guide for the Perplexed, was published by W.W. Norton in September 2013, and was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Books of 2013. She has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard, Sarah Lawrence College, and City University of New York, and has lectured at over two hundred universities and cultural institutions throughout North America and in Israel. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
Meet the Instructor
Tikvah aims to make all of our courses available to as many qualified students as possible. In the event that Tikvah needs to add additional sections, this course may be taught by a different faculty member with a similarly high level of expertise.