"The Object of Jewish Literature" by Barbara E. Mann

The Object of Jewish Literature A Material History Barbara E. Mann

Publication date:
28 Jun 2022
Yale University Press
288 pages: 235 x 156mm
76 b-w illus.
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A history of modern Jewish literature that explores our enduring attachment to the book as an object

With the rise of digital media, the "death of the book” has been widely discussed. But the physical object of the book persists. Here, through the lens of materiality and objects, Barbara E. Mann tells a history of modern Jewish literature, from novels and poetry to graphic novels and artists’ books. Bringing contemporary work on secularism and design in conversation with literary history, she offers a new and distinctive frame for understanding how literary genres emerge.

The long twentieth century, a period of tremendous physical upheaval and geographic movement, witnessed the production of a multilingual canon of writing by Jewish authors. Literature’s objecthood is felt not only in the physical qualities of books—bindings, covers, typography, illustrations—but also through the ways in which materiality itself became a practical foundation for literary expression.

Barbara E. Mann is professor of cultural studies and Hebrew literature and the Chana Kekst Professor of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is the author of Space and Place in Jewish Studies.

“A bold, often surprising, and luminous study that enhances our perception.”—Ranen Omer-Sherman, University of Louisville

“Original and finely instructive, this work leads us to see something new and illuminating about the very modality of literature.”—Robert Alter, author of The Art of Biblical Narrative