Professor Barbara Mann
office tel – 212 678 8816
office hours – Mon 1230-130 and by appointment
This course explores the work of five poets — Anna Margolin, Rachel Bluwstein, Esther Raab, Leah Goldberg and Kadya Molodowski. We will examine their work against the background of gender analysis, international modernism and the relation between Hebrew and Yiddish.
Students are expected to read the poetry in the original language, whenever possible, and be aided by the translations otherwise. In addition to the books below, other required readings are available on Blackboard E-reserves. Some original language materials and other sources may be found on regular library reserves (see attached). Students are responsible for accessing, downloading and bringing to class a copy of the assigned texts. Please contact the library at blackboard@JTSA.EDU with any problems you may have with the readings.
The following required texts have been ordered at Book Culture and are available on paper reserve in the JTS library:
Anna Margolin, Drunk from the Bitter Truth
Rachel Bluwstein, Flowers of Perhaps
Kadya Molodowski, Paper Bridges
Esther Raab, Thistles
Leah Goldberg, Selected Poetry
Terry Eagelton, How to read a poem
Suggested text: The Defiant Muse eds. Tamar Hess, Galit Hakam-Rosen and Shirley Kaufman
Expectations and requirements:
• This is an intensive poetry seminar. Students are expected to come to class having read and prepared all poems assigned for that day. You must bring a hard copy of the poems assigned to class. Please do not read or prepare poems in e-formats. You may read all other historical and critical texts in e-formats.
• Course blog: students are responsible for a series of guided assignments, to be created and posted on our course blog, hosted by WordPress. Students will be “invited” to join the blog and must then register with WordPress and log in. The blog is “semi-public” and visible ONLY to registered members of the class. Please refer to the short video on Blackboard for an introduction to the blog after you have registered with WordPress. See below for list of due dates for blog posts and comments.
• Students will work in pairs and make an in-class presentation of poem of their choosing, offering their critical interpretation and guiding the class with their insights.
• Final essay assignment for LC students or research paper for all other students. You must finalize the details of your final assignment with me by April 7th.
Final grade determined as follows:
Blog assignments – 40%
Class attendance/participation – 15%
Class presentation – 15%
Final assignment – 30%
Electronic devices: Please turn off your cell phones in class, and do not check for messages or texts during class time. You may use an electronic device such as a laptop or tablet and access the internet in class only for class purposes.
Academic integrity: JTS students are expected to bear individual responsibility for their work, to learn the rules and definitions that underlie the practice of academic integrity and to uphold its ideals.
Students in this class are expected to maintain academic integrity and academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this class. JTS Student Disciplinary Procedures may be found athttp://www.jtsa.edu/About_JTS/Administration/Policies/Student_Disciplinary_Procedures.xml
The JTS policy on disabilities may be found athttp://www.jtsa.edu/About_JTS/Administration/Policies/Students_with_Disabilities.xml
Class schedule (subject to change)
22nd January – intro to class
29th January — introduction
• Sandra M. Gilber and Susan Gubar, “Infection in the Sentence: The Woman Writer and the Anxiety of Authorship,” The Madwoman in the Attic
• Iris Parush, “Gender Roles and Women’s “Window of Opportunity,” Reading Jewish Women
• Anita Norich, “Jewish Literatures and Feminist Criticism: An Introduction of Gender and Text,” in Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature
• Suggested reading: The Defiant Muse, introduction; Bonnie Kime Scott, Introduction,The Gender of Modernism
5th February – Rachel Bluwstein
• Poems from Flowers of Perhaps
• Eagelton, How to read a poem (chapters 4,5,2)
• Suggested reading: “Al ot ha-zman,” Rachel
12th February – Rachel Bluwstein
• Dan Miron, “Why was there no women’s poetry in Hebrew before 1920?” in Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature
• Michael Gluzman, “The Exclusion of Women from Hebrew Literary History,”Prooftexts 11:3 (1991): 259-278.
19th February –Anna Margolin
• Margolin, Drunk from the Bitter Truth: All poems in the first section “Roots” (pp 3-19), “Brisk,” pp 134-139, “Odessa,” pp140-143, “Girls from Crotona Park,” pp 150-151; poems from section “Mary” (pp 183-205), “At the Café,” pp 146-149.
• Kathryn Hellerstein, “From Ikh to Zikh: A Journey from ‘I’ to ‘Self’ in Yiddish Poems by Women,’” Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature
26th February – Anna Margolin
• Margolin, Drunk from the Bitter Truth: “You,” 30-33, “In Copper and in Gold,” pp 38-39, “All Mute Things Speak Today,” pp 40-41, “The Golden Peacock Flew Off,” pp 76-77, “Slender Ships,” pp 88-89, “The Night Came into My House,” pp 104-105, “Epitaph,” pp 108-109, “Beautiful Words of Marble and Gold,” pp 110-113
• Avram Novershtern, “Who would have believed a bronze statue could weep?”Prooftexts 10 (1990)
• Barbara Mann, “Picturing Anna Margolin: Yiddish Poetry and Idolatry,” Modern Language Quarterly 63:4 (December 2002): 501-536.
5th March – Esther Raab
• Kimshonim pp TBA (translations in Thistles)
• Wendy Zierler, “My Mother, My Land” (ch. 3), And Rachel Stole the Idols: The Emergence of Modern Hebrew Women’s Writing
12th March – Esther Raab
• Kimshonim, pp TBA (translations in Thistles)
• Barbara Mann, “Framing the Native: Esther Raab’s Visual Poetics,” Israel Studies(Winter 1999): 234-257.
• Suggested reading: interview(s) with Raab from Hadarim
19th March – Leah Goldberg
• Introduction and poems from Selected Poetry and Drama, “Early Poems (1935-1942) (pp 11-50) with special attention to Pieta (I, 38), Madonot Al Parshat Drachim, (I, 39), Ikarit Mitpalelet (I, 40), Ba-manzer poszyiseli (I, 69), Chalom Na’ara (I, 71).
26th March– Leah Goldberg
• Poems from Selected Poetry and Drama, from “Lightning in the Morning” (1955) (pp 51-110) with special attention to “Ilanot” (91-93) and “Mirror” (88);
from “Last Words” (1959) and from “With this Night” (1964) (pp 111-160) with special attention to “From the Songs of Zion,” “From my mother’s house,” “The Shortest Journey [complete],”“A look at a bee”
2nd April – Kadya Molodowsky
• Poems from Paper Bridges, Introduction plus Kheshvndike Nekht (Women-Poems); Dzshike gas (Dzshike gas); Freydke (Freydke: A Long Poem); and In land fun mayn gebeyn (My Ultimate Biography, In the Country of My Bones, A White Poet, Alphabet Letters,Legacy)
• Kathryn Hellerstein, “’A Word for My Blood’: A Reading of Kadya Molodowsky’s ‘Froyen-lider’ (Vilna 1927), AJS Review 13: 1-2 (1988), 47-79.
9th April – Kadya Molodowsky
• Poems from Paper Bridges, Der melekh dovid aleyn is geblibn (Merciful God, Letters from the Ghetto, Khad Gadya, Only King David Remained,Havdalah, A Poem to the Paper Bridge); Likhtfun dornboym (Without Words, Iron Dream, My Language, On the Paper Bridge,The Light of Your Table, Love, I am an Echo, In the Land of Israel, Our Ship, A Refugee)
30th April – concluding session
Blog posts and comments due dates
Refer directly to blog for more information about each assignment and how to post.
All posts and comments must be successfully posted by 10 pm on the date indicated. Deadlines for posts and comments are firm — absolutely no extensions will be granted unless you have a medical excuse with a note.
1/29 — PRACTICE POST: A Room of One’s Own
2/4 – Practice comment due
2/12 — #1: Gender and Literature
2/16 – First comment due
3/12 — #2: Historical Analysis
3/16 – Second comment due
3/26 — #3: Voice
3/30 – Third comment due
4/6 — #4: Close Reading
4/9 – Fourth comment due
4/24 — #5: Comparative Analysis
4/29 – Fifth comment due