Writing about Literature: Crisis and Identity in Modern Jewish Fiction
C LIT 240 introduces students to the writing of critical essays in the discipline of Comparative Literature. It aims to develop writing and critical skills through a variety of discussion, group-work, and writing assignments. This section focuses on the theme of crisis and identity in modern Jewish fiction with much attention to the narrative techniques applied in its communication. The writers are Jewish by birth but their writing - in different ways and degrees - deals with universal problems: ethnic or religious identity and commitment to it; the power of religious faith; immigration and immersion; familial problems and confrontation; personal development and demise; weak men and powerful women. We will be reading in English translation stories and novellas by twentieth century Jewish writers from different cultures and continents: Berkowitz (Hebrew), Roth (English), Singer (Yiddish), Kafka (German), Appelfeld (Hebrew), and Bellow (English). The ultimate goal is to produce an interesting, precise, well-grounded, and well-articulated analysis of literary texts while making use of the approaches and techniques of Comparative Literature.
General method of instruction
Lectures, class discussion, group work.
No association with Judasim or knowledge of Jewish culture is assumed or required. An interest in literature is recommended.
Class assignments and grading
Reading tasks, quizzes, short writing assignments,response papers and longer essays.
Grades will be based on class participation, punctual attendance, on-time submission of writing assignments and papers.