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David Aberbach, Professor

D. Aberbach

Areas of Interest:

Hebrew and Comparative Studies


B.A. (University College, London), M.Litt., D.Phil. (Oxford University)

Academic Qualifications:

B.A. Honours, English Literature, University College, London, 1975; M.Litt., Oxford University, 1977; D.Phil., Oxford University, 1980; training in child psychotherapy, The Tavistock Clinic, London, 1979-1982; B.Sc., Social Sciences, Open University, 2000.

Current Position (since 1987):

Professor, McGill University. Visiting appointments (since 1992): University of London (UCL and LSE), University of Oxford (Linacre College)

Main Publications:

I Books:

1. At the Handles of the Lock: Themes in the Fiction of S.J. Agnon, The Littman Library and Oxford University Press, 1984.

2. Bialik , in Jewish Thinkers series, Arthur Hertzberg, ed. Peter Halban and Weidenfeld, London, Grove Press, U.S.A., 1988. Published in Hebrew, Yediot/Eked, 1992.

3. Surviving Trauma: loss, literature and psychoanalysis, Yale University Press, 1989.

4. Realism, Caricature and Bias: The Fiction of Mendele Mocher Sefarim, The Littman Library, 1993.

5. Imperialism and Biblical Prophecy 750-500 BCE, Routledge, 1993. Italian translation, 1996.

6. Charisma in Politics, Religion and the Media: Private Trauma, Public Ideals, Macmillan, 1996.

7. Revolutionary Hebrew, Empire and Crisis, Macmillan, 1997.

8. The Roman-Jewish Wars and Hebrew Cultural Nationalism, (co-author), Macmillan, 2000.

9. Major Turning Points in Jewish Intellectual History, Palgrave Macmillan 2003.

10. (Ed. and tr.) C.N. Bialik: Selected Poems, Overlook Press/Duckworth 2004.

11. Jewish Cultural Nationalism, Routledge, 2008.

II Articles:

1. "Bialik and Wordsworth: Poetry of Childhood" (Hebrew), Moznayim, Vol. 45, no. 2, 1977.

2. "Screen Memories of Freud, Bialik and Wordsworth", Midstream, October 1979.

3. "Freud's Jewish Problem", Commentary, June 1980.

4. "On Re‑reading Bialik: Paradoxes of a 'National Poet'", Encounter, June 198l.

5. "The Lost Mother in Agnon” (Hebrew), Moznayim, February/March 1982.

6. "Loss and Separation in Bialik and Wordsworth," Prooftexts, May 1982.

7. "Screen Memories of Writers," International Review of Psycho-Analysis (1983) 10, 1: 47‑62.

8. "Charlie Chaplin: Of Crime and Genius", Encounter, May 1983.

9. "Loss and Dreams", International Review of Psycho-Analysis (1984) II, 4:393‑98.

10. "Childlessness and the Waste Land in Bialik and T.S. Eliot," Hebrew Union College Annual, vol. 55, 1984.

11. "Hitler's Politics and Psychopathology," Encounter, September/October 1985.

12. "Grief and Mysticism," International Review of Psycho-Analysis (1987) 14:509‑526.

13. "Agnon and the Need for Tradition," in Jewish Book Annual, J. Kabakoff, ed. New York, 1988.

14. "Creativity and the Survivor: The Struggle for Mastery," International Review of Psycho-Analysis, (1989) 16: 372‑86.

15. "Infidel Jew: Freud and Psychoanalysis," in Psychoanalysis and Tradition, Laurence Spurling, ed., Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1993.

16. "Grief and Mystical Union: the Baal Shem Tov and Krishnamurti," Harvard Theological Review, 86, 3 (1993): 209-221.

17. "Fantasies of Deviance in Mendele and Agnon," Association for Jewish Studies Review XIX (1994) 1:45-60.

18. "Charisma and Attachment Theory: A Crossdisciplinary Interpretation," International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 76 (1995) 4:545-555.

19. “Hebrew Literature and Jewish Nationalism in Tsarist Russia 1881-1917," Nations and Nationalism 3,1 (1997): 25-44.

20. "Revolutionary Hebrew, Empire and Crisis: Toward a Sociological Gestalt," British Journal of Sociology 48,1(1997): 128-148.

21. “The Artist as Nation-Builder: William Butler Yeats and Chaim Nachman Bialik” (co-author), Nations and Nationalism 5,4 (October 1999): 501-522.

22. The Roman-Jewish Wars and Hebrew Cultural Nationalism,” Nations and Nationalism 6, 3 (2000) 347-362.

23. “Trauma and Abstract Monotheism: Jewish Exile and Recovery in the Sixth Century BCE,” Judaism 198, 50, 2 (Spring 2001): 211-221.

24. “Hellenism and Jewish Nationalism: ambivalence and its ancient roots,” (co-author), Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, 5 (September 2002): 1-23.

25. “The Poetry of Nationalism,” Nations and Nationalism 9, 3 (April 2003):255-275.

26. “Fanatic Heart: The Poetry of Uri Zvi Greenberg,” Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, Spring 2003: 16-32.

27. “Enlightenment and Cultural Confusion: Mendele’s The Mare and Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Comparative Literary Studies, 41, 2 (2004) 214-230.

28. “Religious Metaphor and Its Denial in the Poetry of Amichai,” Judaism, 53, 3-4 (2004): 279-292.

29. “Nationalism and the Hebrew Bible,” Nations and Nationalism, 11 (2) 2005: 223-242

30. “Nationalism, Reform Judaism and the Hebrew Prayer Book,” Nations and Nationalism 12 (1) 2006: 139-159.

31. “Myth, History and Nationalism: Poetry of the British Isles,” in Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism, Athena S. Leoussi and Steven Grosby, eds., Edinburgh University Press, 2007: 84-96.

32.'The Embrace of the Rosebush: Anti-Hebraism in Modern Jewish Literatur', The International Fiction Review 34 (1&2) 2007: 92-108.

33.'Beggars of Love: Agnon and Flaubert', Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 7, 2 (2008) 157-174.

34. 'Byron to D’Annunzio: From Liberalism to Fascism in National Poetry' 1815-1920. Nations and Nationalism, 14 (3) 2008: 478-497.

35. ‘Holocaust Literature: Foreshadowings and Shadowings’, in Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Modern Jewish Literature in Honor of Ruth Wisse’, Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 35-53.

Scholarly activities

Invited lectures

ABERBACH, D. Trauma and Creativity from the Bible to Modern Times in colloquia on Terrors, Traumas and Psychoanalysis, William Alanson White Psychoanalytical Society, New York, March 2003

ABERBACH, D. Nationalism and the Hebrew Bible, The Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism conference on Nationalism and Language, London, March 2003

ABERBACH, D. National Poetry 1789-1914: from Revolutionary Idealism to Mass Destruction. London School of Economics

ABERBACH, D. National Poetry in the Ottoman Turkish Empire (Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia). London School of Economics

ABERBACH, D. National Poetry in the Tsarist Russian Empire (Finland, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, and Hebrew). London School of Economics

ABERBACH, D. National Poetry in the British Empire (Scotland, Ireland, India, pre-State Israel). London School of Economics

ABERBACH, D. Hebrew Studies as Value: the Image of Hebrew in English Literature. Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies

ABERBACH, D. Prophets Against the State: On the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. London School of Economics, December 1998.

Conference papers

ABERBACH, D. Hebrew Literature in the Post-imperial Age: The Future of Jewish Identity at the Millennium. Thirtieth Anniversary Conference of the Department of Jewish Studies, McGill University, May 1999.

Radio Broadcasts (BBC World Service): mostly based on my book Charisma in Politics, Religion and the Media: Lawrence of Arabia, Marilyn Monroe, Churchill, Hitler, Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Charisma in Religion, Charisma in Politics, Tevye the Milkman, John Lennon, Charlie Chaplin, Lenin.

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