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Grant number: FT-229048-15

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Barbara Ellen Mann
Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York, NY 10027-4649)

A Material History of 20th-century Jewish Literature

Summer research and writing on Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies, and History, Criticism and Theory of the Arts.

My project reads 20th-Jewish literature through the lens of material culture, analyzing the material qualities of texts, the depiction of things, and discourse about materiality during a period shaped by migration, the shoah and tremendous social and political upheaval. Examining how transition and rupture have refashioned Jewish textuality as material culture will enrich our sense of literature's complex relation to its physical surroundings. Indeed, writing that emerges from Jewish culture, whose theological tradition has a historically ambivalent engagement with embodied forms such as idols, is an ideal forum for exploring how literature deploys physical objects as emblems of ideas and emotions, and how books themselves function as things. Treating a wide variety of literary genres, my analysis of the materiality of text within the transnational parameters of modern Jewish culture will sharpen our understanding of how secular culture is indebted to traditional religious forms.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Jewish Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2015 – 8/31/2015