Research

My current research concerns the practices and ideologies of literary translations between Hebrew and German published in the first half of the twentieth century. Zionist translators and writers of this time period developed, I argue, a vocabulary of emotions (love, passion, sorrow) that enabled them to shape the relationship between translators and translated texts. I explore the politics of these strong emotions in order to show how translation practices further entangled German and Hebrew, Europe and Palestine, precisely at the site of departure and national differentiation.

Uncovering the strong presence of multilingual writing and self-translation within Hebrew literature, I have published essays on diverse authors such as Avraham Ben Yitzhak, S. Y. Agnon, Leah Goldberg, and Yoel Hoffmann. My 2019 essay on Paul Celan (Comparative Literature) explores the poet’s reconfiguration of the “breath-unit,” a notion developed by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig in their Bible translation of the 1920s.

My recent book, Golem, How He Came into the World, closely analyzes Paul Wegener’s 1920 film, providing multiple theoretical and historical contexts for understand the film’s unique architecture, tactile visual effects, dramatic plot-line, and treatment of the golem figure.

My first book, Golem: Modern War and Their Monsters, explores the mass appeal of this artificial clay monster in the German-speaking world around World War I, as well as the ongoing association of golem figures with war technologies in American and Israeli cultures. Drawing on archival sources and print media, the book maintains that in the twentieth century the golem became both a metaphor for modern war and its weapons and—often at the same time—a powerful reminder of human vulnerability and mortality.