Topics in Modern Hebrew Literature
From Shtetl to Kibbutz
Lewis Glinert
Office: 305 Bartlett Hall


The Jewish world underwent a profound social and cultural rupture in the late 19th and early 20th century, with the break-down of Orthodox small-town ('shtetl') Jewish life in Eastern Europe, mass movement to the cities and to the New World, and the creation of a secular Zionist society in the Holy Land. The Hebrew poetry and fiction of those times was a mirror and stimulus to these cataclysmic events. You will study a sample of the major writers and their ideologies: The social satire of the shtetl by the bilingual Yiddish-Hebrew triumvirate of Mendele, Peretz and Shalom Aleikhem (the source of Fiddler on the Roof), the repressed spirituality of Bialik, the fierce pagan outpourings of Tshernikhovski and Berdichevski, Devorah Baron's explorations of the role of the new Jewish woman, Brenner's autobiographical novels of paternal repression and sexual disfunction, the pioneering poetry of Shlonsky, the lyrical hymns to the Holy Land of the poetess Rachel, Nobel Laureate Agnon's quest to synthesize the Hasidic past and the Zionist present -- and the Hebraic evaluation of American freedoms and oppression of native American culture in the poetry of SIlkiner and Lisitzky. No Hebrew required.

Course requirement

There will be a midterm (30%), a final examination (30%), and two thematic projects (40%) for which you will do library research, write up your findings and describe them briefly in class.


The following books are required and can be purchased at the bookstore: The following have been placed on 24-hour reserve in Baker Library:



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Week 10:

* If you have any questions about this course, you can reach Prof. Glinert at Lewis.H.Glinert@Dartmouth.EDU.

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