Benjamin Harshav, scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish (1928-2015): an appreciation
Professor Benjamin Harshav, the distinguished scholar of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, died on April 23rd 2015, aged 86.
He was born in Vilna in Lithuania in 1928 (a town which he described as the “self-styled bastion of Yiddish culture“) but escaped across the Urals in 1941, along with his family, after the Germans ousted the Soviets from the city
After the war, he moved to Israel, where he established the Department of Poetics and Comparative Literature at Tel Aviv University and was a member of the literary group, Likrat (named after the journal he had himself founded) which championed the works of a new generation of modernist Jewish poets.
Harshav left Tel Aviv in 1987 to take up a teaching post of Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Languages and Literatures at Yale University.
His legacy is a portfolio of distinguished publications on literature, poetry and culture
SOAS Library holds a wide range of Benjamin Harshav’s scholarly and literary output, both in Hebrew and English, and including translations of Yiddish poetry (into Hebrew and English)