Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution

with Dr. Karen Grumberg, Associate Professor

Wed, October 2, 2019 | CAL 516

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Hebrew Gothic: History and the Poetics of Persecution

Sinister tales written since the early 20th century by the foremost Hebrew authors, including S. Y. Agnon, Leah Goldberg, and Amos Oz, reveal a darkness at the foundation of Hebrew culture. The ghosts of a murdered Talmud scholar and his kidnapped bride rise from their graves for a nocturnal dance of death; a girl hidden by a count in a secret chamber of an Eastern European castle emerges to find that, unbeknownst to her, World War II ended years earlier; a man recounts the act of incest that would shape a trajectory of personal and national history. Reading these works together with central British and American gothic texts, Karen Grumberg illustrates that modern Hebrew literature has regularly appropriated key gothic ideas to help conceptualize the Jewish relationship to the past and, more broadly, to time. She explores why these authors were drawn to the gothic, originally a European mode associated with antisemitism, and how they use it to challenge assumptions about power and powerlessness, vulnerability and violence, and to shape modern Hebrew culture. Grumberg provides an original perspective on Hebrew literary engagement with history and sheds new light on the tensions that continue to characterize contemporary Israeli cultural and political rhetoric.

The Middle Eastern Studies & Islamic Studies Colloquium is an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff across the University to present research on the study of Islam and the Muslim world. Colloquium meetings aim to provide presentation experience and constructive feedback on work in progress, as well as to foster discussion and a sense of cohort among the Islamic studies community on campus. Meetings are open to all UT community, and light refreshments may be served.

Sponsored by: the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Islamic Studies Initiative

Bookmark and Share


  •   Map
  • Middle Eastern Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    204 W 21st Street Stop F9400
    Calhoun Hall (CAL) 528
    Austin, TX 78712
    +1-512-471-3881