Graduate research in literature in the English Department spans a range of topics, historical periods, and critical approaches. Scroll down to see what some of our M.A and Ph.D. students have been working on.
M.A. Thesis: Rendering the Holocaust Through Fantasy
Many critics feel that Holocaust fantasy is problematic. But lately we have seen more and more narratives using fantasy to represent the Holocaust. In my thesis I analyze short stories, a novel, one poem and a picture book, using various fantasy theories to show how fantasy enables writers to attempt to describe the indescribable--the Holocaust of the Jewish people.
M.A. Thesis: Orphanhood and Romance in Charlotte Brontё's Jane Eyre and Villette
My research focuses on the intersection of two topics, orphanhood and romantic love, in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and Villette. In my thesis I discuss the significance of being an orphan in Jane and Rochester's relationship in Jane Eyre, and in Lucy Snow and M. Paul Emanuel's connection in Villette.
Etti Gordon Ginzurg
Ph.D. Dissertation: From Sense to Nonsense: The Hidden Autobiography of Laura E. Richards
The dissertation suggests a novel reading of the nonsense poems and two autobiographies of nineteenth-century American children's writer Laura E. Richards (1850-1943). The fact that these works have been barely given any serious scholarly attention raises fundamental questions concerning genre, gender and canonicity. Reading these works in the wider context of their author's life and times reveals a surprisingly sophisticated writer who found an original way to bypass gender constraints and safely give vent to a myriad of issues, private and public alike, under the veil of nonsense.
M.A. Thesis: Child Narration in Contemporary Adult Fiction
I am a student in the Direct MA program and am writing a thesis about child narrators in adult fiction. My research tries to answer questions like: Why do authors use child narrators to tell stories to adults? Why is using a child narrator different and – in some cases – more effective than using a child focalizer or an adult narrator? Is it ethical for adult authors to presume to present the child perspective, and is the perspective they create convincingly authentic?
Ph.D. Dissertation: A Generation in Search of identity: An Inquiry into Contemporary American Jewry
This interdisciplinary dissertation, conducted under the supervision of Dr. Moshe Hellinger and Prof. Michael Kramer, will combine the tools and materials of social science and literary criticism to analyze the identities of young Jewish Americans (born between 1965-1978). Much has been speculated about current transformative trends in the self-identification of young American Jews. But while many studies have dealt with various aspects of Jewish identity in the United States over the years, none has as yet dealt comprehensively with this generation nor has sought to use the sophisticated analytical methods of literary analysis to enhance the broader, quantitative analyses of social science.
M.A. Thesis: Meine geliebten, goldenen Kinder: Silenced voices from the Holocaust
My thesis is a creative nonfiction work based on authentic letters written in German by two Holocaust victims, as well as letters written by some of their family members. Based on the translated correspondence and various historical sources, museums and databases, my thesis tells the family’s history from the 1920’s to our time and tracks their until now mostly unknown footsteps across Europe during the early years of World War II. The thesis is a mixture of letter excerpts, historical events and my experiences with translating the letters and travelling to the various places mentioned in them.
Ph.D. Dissertation: Olga Kirsch, A Critical Biography
In this critical biography of Olga Kirsch, a South African Jewish poet who immigrated to Israel in 1948, I am exploring the relationship between the life story of the poet and her poetry, especially why as English mother-tongue speaker she published mainly in Afrikaans while already living in Israel.
Ph.D. Dissertation: Gender and Julius Caesar: Performance, Listening Rhetoric, and Pedagogy
Combining pedagogy with performance as an interpretive methodology, this research focuses upon using my unique classroom situation, teaching Ultra-Orthodox Jewish adolescent females, as a platform for analysis. Performing Julius Caesar in my classroom represents the reverse of the Elizabethan method of exclusively male performance: What does this reversal illuminate about the construction of gender in Julius Caesar? How can listening rhetoric function both to elucidate the drama and as a pedagogical tool? How did this play come to be entrenched in secondary school curricula? And what are the advantages and limitations of using performance as a method for teaching this play? These are some of the questions I explore in my dissertation.
M.A. Thesis: "Nice Girls" and Sexuality in American Fiction of the 1950s and 1960s
My thesis studies the "nice girl" icon in 1950s American literature, as seen in novels such as Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Mary McCarthy's The Group. This was an era heralding the great social change of the 1960s, and these novels are closely attuned to the questions of the time. My study discusses what the "nice girl" icon was, how the "nice girl" icon changed, and how these novelists chose to portray these alterations.
M.A. Thesis: Time as a Unifying Agent between Theme and Structure in Gothic and Horror Fiction
My thesis explores the variety of ways in which the selection, sequencing, and pacing of significant events in a narrative interacts with the expression of Gothic and horror themes. My research focuses on three short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and the contemporary novel The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
M.A. Thesis: Darwin on the Tel Aviv Freeway, by Smadar Reisfeld: A Translation and Its Analysis
The new M.A. program in English Literature with an Emphasis on Literary Translation requires the translation of a (portion of a) book and a scholarly paper on the translation process. Translating prose is vastly different from translating academic and factual articles, and there is never any “correct” and “perfect” translation. Translators need to reflect the soul and intent of the author and give the reader in the target language an experience similar to the reader in the source one. This in itself is literally impossible, since literature invokes different experiences for different readers.
For my thesis, I am translating the novel “Darwin on the South Tel Aviv Freeway” by Smadar Reisfeld and will attach to it my reflection regarding the experience and problems I encounter and (hopefully) solve.