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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Hannah S Pressman
SISJE 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies.

Class description

Autobiography in Israeli Culture This course will explore the role of autobiographical expressions in twentieth-century Hebrew literature and culture.

Student learning goals

We will consider central questions in the theory of autobiography: What What does it mean to write about the self?

What are the roles of truth, authenticity, and invention in autobiographical narratives?

How do community and history impact individual identity?

General method of instruction

Through translations of short stories and poems as well as excerpts from novels, we will encounter the artistic construction of self in a range of locations and historical moments – from the strict classroom of a European Jewish village to a struggling agricultural settlement in pre-state Israel to religious Jerusalem neighborhoods. The authors’ individual coming-of-age tales occur against a dynamic societal backdrop, forcing us to consider the connections between stories and history, narration and nation, personal and monumental. Readings will include H.N. Bialik (Random Harvest), Hanoch Bartov (Whose Little Boy Are You?), Pinhas Sadeh (Life as a Parable), Haim Be’er (Feathers), and Amos Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness).

Readings will include Philippe Lejeune, Karl Weintraub, Elizabeth Bruss, James Olney, Jennifer Jensen Wallach, and Paul John Eakin.

All texts will be taught in translation, and there are no prerequisites.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Course requirements include active participation in class discussions, occasional brief written responses, a midterm paper, and a final paper.

Course requirements include active participation in class discussions, occasional brief written responses, a midterm paper, and a final paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Loryn Hazan Paxton
Date: 12/19/2007