KronfeldProfessor Chana Kronfeld

Chana Kronfeld, Ph.D. (U.C. Berkeley, 1983)
Professor of Modern Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature
Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Comparative Literature and the Program for Jewish Studies Ph: 510-642-6177; 250 Barrows Hall
Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley

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Ph.D.   1983    University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature, Dissertation: “Aspects of Poetic Metaphor”
MA      1977    University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature (with distinction)
BA      1971    Tel Aviv University, Poetics and Comparative Literature; English (Summa cum laude)

Modernism in Hebrew, Yiddish and English poetry, intertextuality, translation studies, literary historiography, stylistics and ideology, gender studies, political poetry, marginality and minor literatures, literature & linguistics, negotiating theory and close reading, theory of metaphor.


Hebrew 204B M2-5, 252 Barrows
Modern Hebrew Literature in its Multilingual Contexts
CCN 62630
We will look at a selection of modern, modernist and postmodernist Hebrew works of poetry and fiction which maintain a variety of contacts with works in other languages, either via the internal bilingualism of Jewish literatures (Hebrew-Yiddish, for example), regional formations of literary culture (Hebrew-Arabic), or modern intertextualities (e.g. with Anglo-American and European literature). My aim is to enable participants to use the Hebrew texts as points of departure for exploring the multilingual contexts that are of the greatest interest to them. I will introduce the Hebrew-Yiddish contacts together with participants who work on Yiddish as well, but I hope that people working on Arabic, English or other relevant literatures will contribute the texts and lead the discussion on those literary contacts. We will also read critical texts that explore issues of intertextuality, multilingual cultures, and the specific phenomenon of auto-translation. Hebrew literary works will all be read in the original. Collaborative projects will be encouraged. Course Reader will include participants' contributions, due 3rd week of classes.

CL 202B:1 Tu 2-5:00; 225 Dwinelle
The Lyric -- A View from the Margins
CCN 17374
This seminar will focus on lyrical poetry produced in the margins – or outside of — the modern Anglo-European canon in order to call into question static typological theories of genre, as well as what may be a majoritarian, heteronormative or Eurocentric set of biases behind contemporary attacks on the lyric as solipsistic, apolitical “personal expression.” Participants will draw on their own cultural and linguistic specialties to compile a multi-lingual course Reader of modern lyrical poetry marginalized by gender, sexuality, class, race, place or language. My own contribution to the readings will include selections from bilingual anthologies of Yiddish and Hebrew poetry, and examples of biblical poetry as an alternative model of the lyric, in which the distinction between the personal and the collective, the political and the “apolitical” is rendered meaningless. Through a series of historically and linguistically informed close readings, we will examine both standard and non-normative theoretical studies of the lyric, maintaining a critical awareness of the extent to which our paradigm examples affect our understanding of the genre. Questions we may want to ask include: How does the view from the margins problematize such western commonplaces as the coherence and authority of the lyrical “I,” the subject-object divide, the dichotomy between apostrophe and address, the conflation of the “lyrical” and “subjective” with the “feminine,” or the lyric’s purported freedom — or flight! — from the historical and the social?

Requirements: The seminar group will compile a Reader of modern lyrics as well as cultural and theoretical background materials relevant for the participants’ different languages of specialization. 1 in-class presentation and 1 seminar paper. COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS WILL BE ENCOURAGED.

Reading List:

1. Selections from: The Penguin Book of Modern Yiddish Verse (bilingual anthology), eds. Irving Howe, Ruth R. Wisse & Khone Shemruk. New York: Penguin, 1988. (Out of print; photocopy available at Instant Copying and Laser Printing).

2. The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, trans. Chana Bloch and Stephen Mitchell, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996; paperback edition (available online for UC students). Hebrew readers will be supplied with the Hebrew texts.

3. The Defiant Muse: Hebrew Feminist Poems (bilingual anthology), eds. Shirley Kaufman, Galit Hasan-Rokem and Tamar Hess, New York: Feminist Press, 1999.

Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley