BookTalk: The Object of Jewish Literature—A Material History

Dr Barbara Mann
Portrait of Roni Gross wearing a log shaped hat
Roni Gross outdoors in a fun hat

Event Info

This event takes place on Monday, May 16 from 6:30–8:00pm via Zoom.


As part of Center for Book Arts ongoing Book Talk series—scholarly presentations related to the book arts curated and moderated by CBA Instructor Roni Gross—we are delighted to welcome Dr. Barbara E. Mann for this discussion about modern Jewish literature.

Scholar’s Statement

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.

Read a recent article published by Dr. Mann “The Scholar and the Bookmaker: On Encountering the Material Side of Things” on In Geveb.

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