Professor Leah Garrett

  • I am the Loti Smorgon Research Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture. My research focuses on the relationship between Yiddish, English, German, and Hebrew literature and the modern world.  I teach courses on 20th century American literature considering in particular the ties between ethnicity and poverty in contemporary life.

    I was recently made an Honorary Professor of History at Warwick University:

    http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/history/people/honorary/

    Current Project:

    SC180622t (1)I have just completed a new book on Jewish American war novels tentatively entitled The Young Lions: How Jewish American Writers Invented the World War II Novel.  The book will be published with Northwestern University Press. In this work I discuss the critical and popular dominance of Jewish authored war novels in the United States and show how Jewish war novels created the template through which Americans understood World War II.

    For a link to a Harvard Crimson write-up about my talk on the project at Harvard University: 

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/10/18/jewish-war-novels-revisited/

    For my lecture on the project at the University of Washington:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJ1lAn6uQe0

    Wagner and the Jews:

    wagnerMy last book, A Knight at the Opera, examined the relationship between Richard Wagner and major Jewish cultural figures.  I was asked to write a piece for The Guardian about whether we should divorce Wagner’s antisemitism from our appreciation of his music.  This is the tab to read the article in The Guardian:  http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/nov/20/wagner-dilemma-hate-bigotry-love-music

    On Sunday November 24th, I was part of a panel at the Melbourne Town Hall partaking in an Oxford style debate run by the Wheeler Centre on the question of whether one can separate Richard Wagner’s political views from his art.  Our side won the debate, arguing that one can not separate the two.

    Click here for the link to the Wheeler Centre page

    On November 11, 2013, I appeared on the Radio National program “The Drawing Room” to discuss if art and politics can and should mix.  To hear the radio program:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drawingroom/do-art-and-politics-mix/5084260

    My Books:

    knight at the operaA Knight at the Opera: Heine, Wagner, Herzl, Peretz and the Legacy of Der Tannhäuser  (Purdue University Press, 2011) In this book I discuss the remarkable and unknown role that the medieval legend (and Wagner opera) Tannhäuser played in Jewish cultural life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

    Click here for the book on Amazon

     

     

    the crossThe Cross and Other Jewish Stories by Lamed Shapiro, editor  (Yale University Press, 2007)  This volume that I edited focuses on the groundbreaking and controversial Yiddish writer, Lamed Shapiro, whose stories run the gamut from pogroms in Russia to hardship tales of life in New York and Los Angeles.

    Click here for the book on Amazon

     

    journeysJourneys beyond the Pale: Yiddish Travel Writing in the Modern World (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003) In this book I explore how Yiddish writers in Eastern Europe and the United States used motifs of travel to express their complicated relationships with modernization.

    Click here for the book on Amazon