Amir Eshel on Franz Kafka

About Guest:

Amir Eshel is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies; Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature; Chair of Graduate Studies, German Studies; and, since 2005 the Director of The Europe Center at Stanford University’s Freeman Sopgli Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on the contemporary novel, twentieth century German culture, German-Jewish history and culture, and modern Hebrew literature. He is interested in the literary and cultural imagination as it addresses modernity’s traumatic past for its contemporary philosophical, political and ethical implications.

Currently, Amir Eshel working on a new project that examines poetry, prose and narratives across media as they raise ethical dilemmas.

At Stanford, he has taught courses on memory and history, modern poetry, narrative and ethics, German Romanticism, postwar German literature and culture, the contemporary novel, German Jewish literature, and the modern Hebrew novel.

Recently, Amir Eshel completed a new book, Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past (due for publication in German (with Suhrkamp Verlag) and English (The University of Chicago Press) in 2012)). He is also the author of Zeit der Zäsur: Jüdische Lyriker im Angesicht der Shoah (1999), and Das Ungesagte Schreiben: Israelische Prosa und das Problem der Palästinensischen Flucht und Vertreibung (2006). In recent years, he also published essays on writers such as Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, W.G. Sebald, Günter Grass, Alexander Kluge, Durs Grünbein, Barbara Honigmann and S. Yizhar.

Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Professor of German Studies, he taught at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Amir Eshel is a recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and the Friedrich Ebert foundations and received the Award for Distinguished Teaching from the School of Humanities and Sciences. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in German literature, both from the University of Hamburg.

For more information, visit his website,