Fellow of the Volkswagen Stiftung and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
August 2013 – July 2014
Eastern Promises? The Eastern European German-Jewish Novel in the Twentieth Century
Kata Gellen is Assistant Professor of German at Duke University. She received her PhD from Princeton University in 2010 with a dissertation on noise in German literary modernism. Her current project looks at such authors as Soma Morgenstern (1890-1976), Joseph Roth (1894-1939), and H. W. Katz (1906-1992), who came from the Eastern reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, moved westward, and wrote about the fate of Jews who followed these East-West (and West-East) trajectories. Though some scholars have labeled their novels nostalgic and reactionary, the project aims to discover the potential for social critique, formal innovation, and narrative experiment in fictions that juxtapose traditional Jewish life with metropolitan modernity in a period of acute crisis (1930s-1940s).