Dybbuks, Golems, Tradition & Resistance: Isaaac Basheveis Singer, Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley (LIT2071.01)

Marguerite Feitlowitz

In this course, we’ll read fictions by read three major Jewish writers of the last and present century: I.B. Singer (1902-1991), the first Yiddish writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature; Cynthia Ozick (1928- ) and Grace Paley (1922-2007). Old World shtetls and the streets of Warsaw; Broadway, the Bronx, and Greenwich Village are settings rife with dybbuks, ghosts, and golems; as well as writers, rabbis & kibbitzers; infidels & peaceniks. The stories are full of speech—(“from God mouth to your ear, or better, to my ear”)—gossipy, poetic & prophetic, full of “piss and vinegar” in the face of ravaging History. Among the characters you’ll meet are the first female mayor of New York City, who uses a golem to get the job done (Ozick); and Paley’s activist single moms occupying Washington Square. You’ll write short response papers and imitations; longer mid-term and final essays; and along the way you’ll present your own and collaborative work in conferences organized by the class.


Learning Outcomes:
* You will do close readings of complex literary texts;
* You will write well-considered and carefully revises analyses of our readings;
* You will participate regularly in group discussion;
* You will consider the complexities of literary influence, competition and rivalry;
* You'll develop--or exercise--your ear for the presence of other languages (Yiddish, Hebrew) in the English words on the page.



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: Literature , Fully In-Person , All courses
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