This episode of New Books in Jewish Studies features Maya Barzilai, Assistant Professor of Hebrew Literature and Jewish Culture at the University of Michigan and the author of Golem: Modern Wars and Their Monsters (New York University Press, 2016). This timely book traces the evolution of the golem, a clay monster animated by a rabbi to serve and protect his community, from its presence in literature, drama, and cinema in the 1920s to its use as a reference in Israeli and American cultures during the second half of the 20th century.
Barzilai has also published a short article in The Forward last November, in which she has shown how the golem was used as a metaphor in the recent US presidential elections to describe Donald Trump as well as the media that “created” him.
Danielle Drori is a doctoral student at New York University. Her research focuses on the politicization of translation in early 20th century Hebrew literature.