Books by Our Literature Faculty

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Literature Faculty 

ILANA M. BLUMBERG

Open Your Hand: Teaching as a Jew, Teaching as an American. Fifteen years into a successful career as a college professor, Ilana Blumberg encounters a crisis in the classroom that sends her back to the most basic questions about education and prompts a life-changing journey that ultimately takes her from East Lansing to Tel Aviv.
Victorian Sacrifice: Ethics and Economics in Mid-Century Novels.  A major reconsideration of the central Victorian ethic of self-sacrifice, suggesting that much of what we have taken to be the moral psychology of Victorian fiction may be understood in terms of the dramatic confrontation between Christian theology and the world of modern economic theory. 
Blumberg traces her own path from a childhood immersed in Hebrew and classical Judaic texts as well as Anglo-American novels and biographies, to a womanhood where the two literatures suddenly represent mutually exclusive possibilities for life.  Winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature.

Dr. Blumberg's home page and full publication list.

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  EVAN FALLENBERG

The Parting Gift: A Novel. An unnamed narrator writes a letter to an old college friend, Adam, with whom he has been staying since his abrupt return to the States from Israel. Now that the narrator is moving on to a new location, he finally reveals the events that led him to Adam's door, set in motion by a chance encounter with Uzi, a spice merchant whose wares had developed a cult following.
When We Danced on Water, a novel.  At eighty-five, Teo has had a full life as a dancer and prize-winning choreographer. But when Vivi enters his life, both experience a shift in their relationships to art and life itself, and the experiences they have tried to suppress – in Warsaw, Copenhagen, Berlin and Tel Aviv – resurface with a vengeance.
Light Fell, a novel.  Joseph Licht will host his five grown sons and his new daughter-in-law for the entire Sabbath, the first time the family will be reunited in twenty years.  In this novel of desire and need, of choices and consequences, no one is unaffected.
Meir Shalev, My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner (trans.).  A lighthearted tale of family ties and over-the-top housekeeping in the village of Meir Shalev's birth, where his unforgettable Grandma Tonia, who came to Palestine by boat from Russia in 1923, lived in a constant state of battle with the family's biggest enemy: dirt.
Yair Lapid, Memories After My Death (trans.).  The astonishing true story of the author’s father, Tommy Lapid, a well-loved and controversial Israeli figure who witnessed the development of the country from all angles over its first sixty years. 
Ron Leshem, Beaufort (trans.).  Runner up for the 2010 Times Literary Supplement Risa Domb/Porjes Prize for the Translation of Hebrew Literature, this stunning debut—winner of Israel’s top literary prize in 2006—is a haunting coming-of-age story set at an Israeli outpost in southern Lebanon.
Meir Shalev, A Pigeon and a Boy (trans.).  A finalist for the PEN Translation Prize, this mesmerizing novel is set in both contemporary Israel and during the 1948 War of Independence: two stories of love, separated by half a century, but connected by one magical act of devotion.
Alon Hilu, House of Rajani (trans.).  This rich and colourful novel is made up of the two opposing journals of Hilu's intriguing and extraordinary protagonists - a troubled Muslim boy anda handsome young Jewish settler - as they negotiate love, honour and betrayal in the changing world of nineteenth-century Palestine. 
Alon Hilu, Death of a Monk (trans.).  In rich, vivid language that startles in its virtuosity and versatility, Death of a Monk presents a fictitious version of the historical event known as the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840.
Batya Gur, Murder in Jerusalem (trans.).  The crowning achievement of a magnificent career, this final installment in the Michael Ohayon series is one last fascinating visit to an always tumultuous land, in the company of a writer and a detective so many devoted readers have loved so well.

Prof. Fallenberg's home page and full publication list.

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  DANIEL FELDMAN

Dr. Feldman's home page and full publication list.

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  WILLIAM KOLBRENER

The Last Rabbi: Joseph Soloveitchik and Talmudic Tradition.  Shows how Soloveitchik was torn between the traditionalism of his European ancestors and his own radical and often pluralist philosophy. A portrait of this self-professed “lonely man of faith” reveals him to be a reluctant modern who paves the way for a return to tradition that hinges on the ethical embrace of multiplicity.
John Milton's Areopagitica.  The great seventeenth-century English poet's impassioned defense of freedom of spech and the press, in a new Hebrew translation by Aviad Stier and an introduction by William Kolbrener.
Open-Minded Torah: Of Irony, Fundamentalism, and Love.  Brilliant and unorthodox essays that elicit unheard voices from the Jewish past for a 21st century Judaism at a time when fundamentalists and fanatics often dominate conversations about religion. 
Mary Astell:  Reason, Gender, Faith  (ed. with Michal Michelson).  A collection of essays that examine Astell's political, theological, philosophical, educational, and poetic writings, analyzing her role not only in developing early modern feminism but as a major figure of the period.
Milton's Warring Angels: A Study of Critical Engagements. Kolbrener argues that Milton resists the paradigms of modernity drawn from the Enlightenment.  His writing instead mediates between apparently contradictory positions. 

 

 

Prof. Kolbrener's home page and full publication list.

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  MICHAEL P. KRAMER

S.Y. Agnon, And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight (trans.). Agnon's first book-length work. written in 1912' told in the guise of a hassidic folktale masks the complex modern tension in the work. This is Agnon's great epic tragedy of a man faced with an impossible dilemma. Now available for the first time in English, translated by Prof. Michael Kramer, fully annotated and with a critical introduction.
Before the Flood: Early Jewish American Writing. A special issue of Studies in American Jewish Literature, the first ever collection of essays dedicated to the neglected area of Jewish writing in America before the East European immigration.  Edited with an historiographical introduction by Michael P. Kramer.  For an interview with the editor, click here.
The Turn Around Religion in America: Literature, Culture, and the Work of Sacvan Bercovitch. Edited with Nan Goodman.  "This collection addresses Bercovitch’s characteristic themes during a long career …This reviewer cannot imagine the Americanist who will not need to refer to this book at least once in his/her career…Highly recommended.'" Choice
Modern Jewish Literatures: Intersections and Boundaries. Edited with Sheila Jelen and Scott Lerner. Modern Jewish literature has neither a common geography nor a shared language and the field is so diverse that it strains the bounds of literary categories. These essays collected take on the challenge by describing movements across boundaries .... 
Jewish Bodies: The Flesh Made Words (Maggid 3). New essays, fiction, and poetry by Melvin Jules Bukiet, Haim Gouri, Rodger Kamenetz, Etgar Keret, Daniel Mendelsohn, Alicia Ostriker, Joseph Skibell, Steve Stern and Eleanor Wilner, among many others--. and new translations of S.Y. Agnon and Hanoch Levin. Dedicated to the memory of Shaindy Rudoff.
Jewish Lives: Memoirs and More (Maggid 2). "This volume is peopled by different kinds of Jews, with different kinds of lives, telling different kinds of stories in different ways.  These are stories of people whose lives mattered, and continue to matter.  Lives that define what it means to be a Jew in our times."
Jewish American Writing: 350 New Years Later (Maggid 1).  New writing by Max Apple, Rachel Back, Melvin Bukiet, Leslie Epstein, Rebecca Goldstein, Allen Hoffman, Shirley Kaufman, Alicia Ostriker, Cynthia Ozick, Robert Pinsky, Mark Rudman, Nava Semel, Alan Shapiro, Jospeph Skibell, Gerald Stern, Steve Stern, Aryeh Lev Stollman, Linda Zisquit, Rachel Zucker.
The Scarlet Letter & The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Hawthorne's two most well-known novels.  Edited with a new introduction that places the reader at the "threshhold" of Hawthorne's romances.
The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature.  Edited with Hana Wirth-Nesher.  This Companion addresses the distinctive Jewish American contribution to American fiction, criticism, poetry and popular culture. It establishes the broadest possible context for the discussion of Jewish American identity as it intersects with the corpus of American literature.
New Essays on Saul Bellow's Seize the Day.  A multifaceted introduction to Nobel Prize-winner Saul Bellow's most widely read, respected, and taught work of fiction. The essays in this volume examine the thematic, stylistic, and critical elements of Bellow's masterpiece and offer different approaches to how the novel may or may not be thought of as "ethnic."
Imagining Language in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War.  "Intelligent and subtle literary criticism: it reads the language of the writing it looks at, rather than merely mining the text for ideas.... The best sort of modern interdisciplinary work." Chistopher Looby, UCLA.

Prof. Kramer's home page and full publication list.

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  YAEL SHAPIRA

Inventing the Gothic Corpse: The Thrill of Human Remains in the Eighteenth-Century Novel. From the early fiction of Aphra Behn and Daniel Defoe to the Gothic heyday of Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis, Inventing the Gothic Corpse shows how a series of bold experiments in eighteenth-century British novels transform the dead body from an instructive icon into a thrill device that will become a fixture of mass culture.
Popular and Canonical: Literary Dialogues.  Edited with Omri Herzog and Tamar S. Hess.  This collection (in Hebrew) examines both the fruitful exchanges and the antagonistic conflicts that occur between the literary canon and popular literature. The eighteen essays included in the book consider the dialogue between "high" and "low" in a wide range of historical periods and national contexts.
British Women Writers.  A special issue of Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas, co-edited with Miranda M. Yaggi.  The essays in this issue, which span nearly two centuries of women’s writing, all share an interest in the conversant acts performed along and across margins — be they the boundaries that separate genres, the borders that define and contain the nation, or the internal fault lines of a stratified society.

Dr. Shapira's home page and full publication list.

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  MARCELA SULAK

 

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