History and Literature: Two Stories of East Europe and Jewish Life

“Post-memory”: Not personally experienced, but nevertheless a part of individual and social memory. In this course we shall study two prize-winning contemporary authors who write about women affected by and identified with the lives and deaths of their families, east European Jews. Soviet-born Katja Petrowskaja presents a part-fictional memoir, Maybe Esther, tracing her Jewish family from the early 20th century, through the Russian Revolution, famine, and Nazism’s war and mass murder. Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel The End of Days offers five accounts of the same half-Jewish child, born in Central European Galicia, whose sense of identity is not secure even as she embraces Soviet communism. Classes will focus on particular sections of each book, with tutor discussion of relevant topics, close reading, and group discussion.

This class will be delivered online via the online platform Zoom. Enrolling students need to ensure they have an email, a reliable internet connection, microphone/speakers and access to a tablet, smartphone or computer.

SUGGESTED READING

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Analysis of the authors’ style and innovations.
  • Historical discussion of book themes, including:
    • Jewish life in central and eastern Europe from the beginning of the 20th century
    • Anti-Semitism and its development from the late 19th century
    • Shifting borders and the treatment of minorities and Jews over time
    • The Russian Revolution and its aftermath; its effect on eastern Europe and on Soviet Jewry
    • Jews in transit between countries and in exile
    • Nazism, World War II, the division of Germany and Jewish persecution
    • Emigration and loss of identity after 1933

PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Encounter two prize-winning authors and enjoy two unusual and striking novels.
  2. Analyse each author’s singular style.
  3. Understand and examine the historical context to the themes of the books.
  4. Discuss the content of the books in relation to its main themes.
$145 Limited / $131

<p>“Post-memory”: Not personally experienced, but nevertheless a part of individual and social memory. In this course we shall study two prize-winning contemporary authors who write about women

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23 Apr
Online Platform
This class is only running from 10:00am - 11:00am, and not for 2 hours as advertised in the brochure.

Interested in this course but can't attend? Please join the waiting list by clicking .