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College of Arts & Sciences
Jewish Studies Program

Jonathan Hess Lecture

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 3:30pm

"Under the Sword of the Spanish Inquisition: Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity"

Jonathan M. Hess
Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and Department of Germanic Languages, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


For generations of Jews in the German-speaking world, the works of Goethe and Schiller epitomized the world of European high culture, a realm that Jews actively participated in as both readers and consumers. Yet from the 1830s on, Jews writing in German also produced a vast corpus of popular fiction that was explicitly Jewish in content, audience and function. In his lecture, Jonathan M. Hess will explore the ways German Jews helped invent new forms of Jewish literature, inaugurating a tradition of Jewish fiction that is in many ways still with us today.

Jonathan M. Hess is professor of Germanic languages and literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also directs the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. He is the author of Germans, Jews and the Claims of Modernity (Yale University Press, 2002) and Reconstituting the Body Politic: Enlightenment, Public Culture and the Invention of Aesthetic Autonomy (Wayne State University Press, 1999). His lecture draws on his forthcoming book, Middlebrow Literature and the Making of German-Jewish Identity(Stanford University Press, 2010).


Place: Close/Hipp Building (BA) 855

[Sponsored by Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies, and Languages, Literatures, & Cultures] 

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