The Art of Plotting: Habsburg Cryptology and the Unlikely Beginning of Modern Jewish Literature (1815-1848)
A Talk by Ofer Dynes.
About the Event:
This talk will center on three figures: The censor of Hebrew books in Lemberg (Lviv), A Yiddish speaking Austrian tax clerk, and a volunteer in the Habsburg Secret Police Office of Galicia, as well as one anonymously published poem, which, if read backward, incriminates a Jewish religious group as the enemy of the Habsburg Empire. Focusing on these liminal figures and uncovering the secret behind this poem, I will argue, offers a new perspective on the emergence of Jewish literature both as a mean of self-expression as well as a form of colonial knowledge.
About the Speaker:
Ofer Dynes is Leonard Kaye Assistant Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Columbia University. His research has been supported by the Posen Society of Fellows, The Center for Jewish History in New York, The Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture, the Austrian Fund for Social Sciences, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, among other institutions. He is currently completing a book manuscript entitled The Fiction of the State: The Polish Partitions and the Beginning of Modern Jewish Literature (1772–1848). He has also co-edited a special volume of Prooftexts, entitled The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Literature in Europe, with Naomi Seidman (University of Toronto). Dynes is a co-founder and organizer of the Hebrew Lab Faculty Seminar, a New York based workgroup for Hebrew literature scholars.