Prof. Hana Wirth-Nesher

Emeritus in Department of English and American Studies
School of Cultural Studies
חוג לספרות אנגלית ולימודים אמריקניים אמריטוס
Prof. Hana Wirth-Nesher
Phone: 03-6407805
Another phone: 03-6407805
Office: Rosenberg - Jewish Studies, 101ד

General Information

Hana Wirth-Nesher’s research and publications are in the areas of the modern novel, urban literature, twentieth century American literature, Jewish American writing, and Yiddish studies. She is the author of City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel (Cambridge) and Call It English: The Languages of Jewish American Literature (Princeton), the editor of What is Jewish Literature? (Jewish Publication Society), The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature (with Michael Kramer), New Essays on Call It Sleep (Cambridge), and most recently The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature. Her essays cover a wide range of authors, from Henry James, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce to Henry Roth, Israel Zangwill, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and Sholem Aleichem.

Professor Wirth-Nesher has served as The Samuel L. and Perry Haber Chair on the Study of the Jewish Experience in the United States at Tel Aviv University, and as the Founding Director of the Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture. She also served as the Chair of the Department of English and American Studies for eight years. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, the Frankel Institute at the University of Michigan, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, and she has been Visiting Professor at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Konstanz. She has been recognized for excellence in teaching by the rector and dean of the Humanities at TAU. Professor Wirth-Nesher earned her BA at the University of Pennsylvania and her MA and Ph.D. at Columbia University.

Her current research interests are on the cultural significance of representation of voice, sound, and speech in Jewish American writing, and multilingualism in modern American literature. 

Publications (Selected)


  • Call It ‘English’: The Languages of Jewish American Literature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. National Jewish Book Award runner-up in category of Modern Jewish Thought, 2007. One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books for 2007. 
  • City Codes: Reading the Modern Urban Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Books for 1996. Hebrew translation: Maftekhot Ha’ir. Ha-Kibbutz Ha-Meuchad, 2001.
  • The Cambridge History of Jewish American Literature, ed. with an introduction by Hana Wirth-Nesher. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature,  ed. with Michael Kramer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • What is Jewish Literature? ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1994.
  • New Essays on Call It Sleep, ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Introduction reprinted in Judaism, Fall 1995.

Editor of Special Journal Issues

  • Jewish-American Autobiography (ed. with Janet Hadda).
  • Special double issue of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Volume 18, Nos. 2, 3 (May/October).
  • Modern Yiddish Literary Studies (guest editor of special issue). Poetics Today. Durham: Duke University Press, with introductory essay “Modern Yiddish Literary Studies: An Academic Issue.” Fall,  2014.

Articles (Selected)

  • “Hebrew in the Crucible: Israel Zangwill’s The Melting Pot,” in The Languages of Jewish Culture: Comparative Perspectives, eds Joshua Miller and Anita Norich. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016.
  • “Pronouncing Letters, Writing Voices: Yiddish as Metalanguage in Post Holocaust Literature,” in Poetics Today special issue on Yiddish Literary Studies, ed. Hana Wirth- Nesher. Duke University Press. Fall 2014.
  • “Henry Roth,” in The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists, ed. Timothy Parrish. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • Lokschen and Isaac Rosenfeld’s Jewish American Voice,” in Studies in Jewish American Literature, 31:1, Spring 2012.
  • ““Who Put the Shma in Shmattas’? Multilingual Jewish American Writing,” in MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States). 37:2, Summer 2012. Special issue on “The Future of Jewish American Literary Studies.”
  • “Jewish American Women Writers,” in Cambridge History of American Women Writers, ed. Dale Bauer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • “Philip Roth’s American Pastoral,” in A New Literary History of America, ed. Werner Sollors and Greil Marcus. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009.
  • “Henry Roth, Hebrew, and the Unspeakable,” in Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon, ed. Justin Cammy, Dara Horn, Alyssa Quint, Rachel Rubinstein. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.
  • “The Accented Imagination: Speaking and Writing Jewish America,” in Imagining Jewish America, ed. Jack Wertheimer. University Press of  New England, 2007.
  • “Philip Roth’s Autobiographical Fictions,” The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth, ed. Timothy Parrish. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • “Traces of the Past: Multilingual Jewish American Writing,” The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature, Spring 2003Hebrew translation: Zmanim, January 2007.
  • “Chad Gadya, ‘Christ, it’s a Kid!’—Writing Jewish America,” Princeton University Library Chronicle, October 2001.
  • ““Shpeaking Plain’ and Writing Foreign: Abraham Cahan’s Yekl,” Poetics Today, January 2001.
  • “Resisting Allegory, or Reading ‘Eli, the Fanatic in Tel Aviv.’” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, January 2001.
  • “Magnified and Sanctified: Liturgy in Contemporary Jewish American Literature,” in Ideology and Identity in American and Israeli Jewish Literature, ed. Emily Budick, State University of New York Press, 2001.
  • “Im-Partial Maps: Reading the City in Literature,” Handbook for Urban Studies, London: Sage Publications, 2001.
  • “Facing the Fictions: The Meta-Memoirs of Henry Roth and Philip Roth,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, October 1998.
  • “The Languages of Memory: Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl,” Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, ed. Werner Sollors. New York: New York University Press, 1998. Reprinted in Dialectical Anthropology, 2000.
  • “‘Who’s he when he’s at home?’: Saul Bellow’s Translations,” New Essays on Seize the Day, ed. Michael Kramer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • “Language as Homeland in Jewish-American Literature,” Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism, ed. David Biale, Michael Galshinsky, Susannah Heschel. University of California Press, 1998.
  • “If This Is Liberty, It Must Be Paris: Landmarks and Home in The Ambassadors,” Homes and Homelessness in the Victorian Imagination, ed. Murray Baumgarten and H.M. Daleski. New York: AMS Press, 1998.
  • ““I must be put you somewheres, dear boy’: Dickens, Twain, and National Geographies,” in Rereading Novels/Rethinking Presuppositions, ed. S. Barzilai, S. Rimmon-Kenan, L. Toker. Brill, 1997.
  • “Final Curtain on the War: Figure and Ground in Virginia Wool’s Between the Acts,” Style, Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer, 1994.
  • “The Counterlife: Israeli Perspectives on American Literature,” in As Others Read Us: International Perspectives on American Literature, ed. Huck Gutman. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1991.
  • “Woman in the Plot: Henry James’s Aspern Papers,” Hebrew University Studies in Literature and the Arts, Vol. 18, 1990. Special issue on Woman and American Ideology: Continuities and Contradictions in the Definition of the National Character.
  • “Between Mother Tongue and Native Language: Multilingualism and Multiculturalism in Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, Spring, 1990. Reprinted as the Afterword to Call It Sleep. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1991.
  • “Reading Joyce’s City: Public Space, Self, and Gender in Dubliners,” in James Joyce: The Augmented Ninth, ed. Bernard Benstock. Syracuse University Press, 1988.
  • “From Newark to Prague: Roth’s Place in the American-Jewish Literary Tradition,” in Reading Philip Roth, ed. Asher Milbauer and Donald Watson. London: Macmillan, 1988. Reprinted in What is Jewish Literature? ed. Hana Wirth-Nesher. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1994.
  • “Orphaned Fictions: Hindsight in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Family Moskat and Shosha,” in Recovering the Canon: Essays on Isaac Bashevis Singer, ed. David Neal Miller. Leiden: Brill, 1986.
  • “The Literary Orphan as National Hero: Huck and Pip,” Dickens Studies Annual: Essays on Victorian Fiction, AMS Press, 1986. Reprinted in Huck Finn:Major Literary Characters, ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1990.
  • “The Ethics of Narration in D.M. Thomas’s The White Hotel,” The Journal of Narrative Technique, Winter, 1985.
  • “The Thematics of Interpretation in Henry James’s Artist Tales,” The Henry James Review, Vol. 5, Spring 1984.
  • “The Artist Tales of Philip Roth,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, Vol. 3, September 1983.
  • “Voices of Ambivalence in Sholem Aleichem’s Monologues,” Prooftexts: A  Journal of Jewish Literary History, Vol. 1, May 1981.
  • “Jewish and Human Survival on Bellow’s Planet,” Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 25, Spring 1979. Special issue on Saul Bellow. Reprinted in Saul Bellow: A Symposium on the Jewish Heritage, ed. Vinoda and Shiv Kumar, Nachson Books, Warangal, India, 1983.
  • “The Stranger Case of The Turn of the Screw and Heart of Darkness,” Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 16, Fall 1979.
  • “The Modern Jewish Novel and the City: Kafka, Roth, and Oz,” Modern Fiction Studies, Vol. 24, Spring 1978. Special issue on the City and the Novel.
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