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Karen Grumberg

Associate ProfessorPh.D.- 2004, University of California- Los Angeles

Karen Grumberg



Contemporary Hebrew literature and comparative Jewish literatures (Hebrew, French, English)


T C 603A • Compstn & Reading In World Lit

41985 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CAL 422


What is world literature? What does it mean for a literary text to transcend particularity? The diverse texts we will encounter in this yearlong course demand a confrontation with this question. The first semester will focus on the foundational texts of what is considered the “world canon,” while the second semester will take us to the farthest reaches of the globe and to the literary and artistic movements that have shaped the contemporary western conception of literature. Throughout the year, we will consider and critique assumptions that inform cultural processes. Our goal is to become engaged readers, attuned to the contexts of cultural production and consumption and attentive to the symbiotic relationship between culture and society. From Homer, Virgil, and the Icelandic Sagas, through Shakespeare, Dante, and Goethe, and finally to Kafka’s century, we shall consider the implications of literature’s crossing of linguistic, geographic, and temporal boundaries and critique the conceptualization of “modernity” that is intricately intertwined with this process. We will also explore the manner in which adaptations of these texts into new forms, such as film, contribute to their continuing relevance in our world.


The course grade will be based on energetic and engaged participation in discussion and several writing assignments. 


Specific reading assignments to be announced.

About the Professor:

Karen Grumberg earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA in 2004. She specializes in modern Hebrew literature but also studied twentieth-century American literature and French. Her first book, Place and Ideology in Contemporary Hebrew Literature, was published in 2011 by Syracuse University Press. Currently she is writing a book on Gothic tropes in Hebrew literature, and is happy to have a legitimate excuse to spend time thinking, reading, and writing about vampires and melancholic castles.

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