Speaker Biographies

Robert Alter ~ University of California, Berkeley
Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature; Ph.D. Harvard University, 1962.
Professor Alter has taught at Berkeley since 1967. He has published widely on the modern European and American novel, on mdern Hebrew Literature, and on literary aspects of the Bible. The 1995 recipient of the Scholarship Award for Social and Cultural Studies of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, Prof. Alter is the author of two prize winning volumes on literary aspects of the Bible including "The Five Books of Moses" which earned him the 2005 Koret Jewish Book Award for translation and commentary. His works also include Necessary Angels: Tradition and Modernity in Kafka, Benjamin, and Scholem (1991), The World of Biblical Literature (1992) and Hebrew and Modernity (1994). His most recent works are Canon and Creativity: Modern Writing and the Authority of Scripture (2000) and Imagined Cities (2005).



Ziva Ben Porat ~ Tel-Aviv University
Professor of Hebrew Literature
Director, The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics
Sifrut/Mashmaut/Tarbut [Literature/Meaning/Culture]
Series of Academic Books in Hebrew, Published by HaKibbutz HaMeuchad



Michael Gluzman ~ Tel-Aviv University
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Researcher at The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics
Author of The Politics of Canonicity. Lines of Resistance in Modernist Hebrew Poetry



Benjamin Harshav ~ Yale University (Keynote Address)
Professor of Comparative Literature, Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, and Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures (courtesy appointment)
Professor Emeritus of Literary Theory and Poetics, Tel Aviv University
Founding Editor, Poetics Today (Duke University Press), Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Benjamin Harshav launched the “Tel-Aviv School of Poetics,” built the dept. for Poetics and Comparative Literature at Tel-Aviv University (1966), and the Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics (“For the Study of  Literature and Culture”). He founded and edited the academic journals:  HaSifrut / Literature: Theory –Poetics – Hebrew and Comparative Literature; a series of scholarly books Literature Meaning Culture (both in Hebrew); PTL (Poetics and Theory of Literature) and  Poetics Today  (both international journals in English). He served as Visiting Professor at several American universities and was a Fellow of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina; the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin; the Dutch Organization for Pure Science ZWO, and the Oxford Center for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies



Chana Kronfeld ~ University of California, Berkeley
Professor of Near Eastern Studies & Comparative Literature with a special emphasis on modern poetry.
Her critical study, On the Margins of Modernism, won the MLA Scaglione Prize. Along with Chana Bloch she received the PEN Translation Award for their translation of Amichai's Open Closed Open and an NEA Fellowship for The Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch. She has just completed a critical study of Yehuda Amichai's poetry, The Full Severity of Compassion. Her essay on Dahlia Ravikovitch's political poetry is included in Reading Hebrew Literature (University of New England Press, 2002).



Vered Shemtov ~ Stanford University
Dr. Vered  Shemtov is the Co-Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies  at Stanford and the Eva Chernov Lokey Senior Lecturer in Hebrew Language and Literature.  Her current book project is Verse and Place: Poetic Form  Between Home and Exile in Modern Hebrew Literature.  Some of her  recent publications include a co-edited volume on Jewish Conceptions and  Practices of Space,  "Between a Jewish and an Israeli Perspective of Space: A Reading in Yehuda  Amichai's 'Jewish Travel' and 'Israeli Travel'" (JSS, Summer 2005), "The Bible  in Contemporary Israeli Literature: Text and Place in Zeruya Shalev's Husband  and Wife and Michal Govrin's Hevzekim," (Hebrew Studies 2006) and Attraversando I  Confini: Dallo Spazio Letterario Alle Frontiere Geografico-Politiche Nei  Romanzi la Sposa Liberata" Opera Letteraria di Yehoshua. Einaudi (Venice,  2006).
Menakhem Perry ~ Tel-Aviv University
Professor of Poetics and Comparative Literature; Founder of The Department of Literature in Tel-Aviv University; Founder and Editor in Chief of "Hasifria Hachadasha" (the publishing house of A.B. Yehushua, David Grossman, and many other prominent Hebrew writers). His fields of research includes theory of narrative, theory of text in a cognitive approach, theory of interpretation, the biblical story, modern Hebrew literature. The author of "The King through Ironic Eyes" (1968), Semantic Dynamics in Poetry: Bialik (1977),"Literary Dynamics: How the Order of a Text Creates its Meaning" (1979), "Counter-Stories in the Bible: Rebekah and her Bridegroom, Abraham’s Servant" (2005; English 2007 forthcoming).
Boaz Arpaly ~ Tel-Aviv University
BOAZ ARPALY, Professor (emeritus) of Hebrew Literature in Tel-Aviv University, Israel, is the author of  the first book-length study on the poetry of Yehuda Amichai: The Flowers and the Urn - Amichai’s Poetry 1948-1962 (Structure, Meaning, Poetics, 1986, 1995; in Hebrew), an essay on the “Political Significance of Amichai Poetry” (1995 in Hebrew, 1996 in English, 1997 in German) and on Jerusalem as a deconstructive junction of myth in Yehuda Amichai’s poetry (“Subversive Jerusalem”, 2006). Among his other publications (in Hebrew): Bonds of Darkness - nine chapters on Natan Alterman’s Poetry (1983); The Negative Principle - Ideology and Poetics in Two Stories by Y. H. Brenner (1992), Masternovel: five essays on Temol Shilshom by S.Y Agnon (1988), and The Joy of Comparing: Transformations in Modern Hebrew Poetry (Bialik, Tchernichovsky, Grinberg, Shlonsky, Alterman, Amichai, 2004). He is also editor of (and main contributor to) Saul Tchernichovsky: Studies and Documents (1994).