The greatest modern Jewish writers—like the biblical prophets—grappled passionately with the dilemmas of political life. They wrote stories, poems, and novels—but for many of them, the real subject was the problem of Jewish weakness and the promise of Jewish sovereignty. How did these writers and thinkers understand the political behavior of the Jews, and how did they shape the spirit of modern Jewish nationalism?
Recently retired from her position as Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard, Ruth Wisse is currently Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Dr. Wisse’s books on literary subjects include an edition of Jacob Glatstein’s two-volume fictional memoir, The Glatstein Chronicles (2010), The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Literature and Culture (2003), and A Little Love in Big Manhattan (1988). She is also the author of two political studies, If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews (1992) and Jews and Power (2007). Her latest book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor, a volume in the Tikvah-sponsored Library of Jewish Ideas, was published by Princeton University Press.