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Italian-Jewish writers subject of May 1 talk in NYC

Italy, land of piazzas and volcanoes, is also home to the oldest Jewish community in the Diaspora. Yet few readers outside Italy know that some of the most important works of modern Italian literature were written by authors who are Jewish. At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 1, Kora von Wittelsbach will explore how the work of these Italian-Jewish writers relates to modern Italian and world literature.

Her talk, “A Tale of Three Cities: Reading Turin, Trieste and Rome,” will be held at the Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St. This is the final event in this year’s “Cornell Jewish Studies at the Center for Jewish History” series, spearheaded by Bruce Slovin ’57, the center’s founder and former chair. Tickets for the talk are $10 general admission, $5 for center members and Cornell alumni, and can be purchased online.

Von Wittelsbach is a senior lecturer in Cornell’s Department of Romance Studies, where she teaches a course on modern Jewish-Italian literature. In her talk, she will look at some of the key preoccupations of Italian-Jewish writers and examine how these authors have articulated the self against the background of Italy’s 20th-century history, particularly in the traditional centers of Jewish life in Italy – Trieste, Turin and Rome.

Cornell’s growing Jewish studies program encompasses Jewish literature, culture and history, from biblical times to our day, and from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, North American and beyond. The Center for Jewish History in New York City provides a collaborative home for the American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute, Yeshiva University Museum and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, whose collections comprise the world’s largest archive of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel.

Linda B. Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Rebecca Valli