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Erella Brown Sofer

Erella Brown Sofer

Erella Brown Sofer

Part-Time Instructor, Hebrew


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
301A HB Crouse Hall


Jewish Studies Minor / Modern Jewish Studies
Middle Eastern Studies

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Brown's fields of research include modern and postmodern Jewish, Israeli, European, and American prose fiction, drama, and contemporary literary theory. Her work focuses on the interaction of psychoanalysis, literature, and feminism in theatre. In this area her articles deal with effective poetic use of psycho-linguistic models such as the “hysteric stage” of feminist playwright Helene Cixous; or the uncanny and its twists of interpretation in E.T.A. Hoffmann, Heinrich Von Kleist, and S. Y. Agnon. Since completing her dissertation on "Allegory and Irony in the Satirical Work of Hanoch Levin" (Cornell, 1989, Dr Brown continues to publish extensively on Israel’s leading playwright Hanoch Levin. Her work highlights Levin’s preoccupation with borderlines and taboos as a means to critique Western culture as well as Israeli ideological dilemmas.


HEB 201 Hebrew III

HEB 202 Hebrew IV

JSP 231 Judaic Literature

JSP 235 Contemporary Israeli Society


1983-89: Ph.D., Cornell University, Comparative Literature (Hebrew, English, French)

1981-83: MA., Cornell University, Comparative Literature (Hebrew, English, French)

1979-81: MA., University of California, Berkeley, Comparative Literature (Hebrew English)

1976-79: BA., Tel Aviv University, Comparative Literature and Theater


2009--present Associate Professor of Hebrew (part-time)

2009--present Holstein Family Lecturer of Israeli Literature and Culture, Syracuse University

2006-2008 Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Hamilton College

2004-2006 Holstein Family Lecturer of Israeli Literature and Culture, Syracuse University

1995-2004 Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Theater, University of Haifa

1989-1995 Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and Hebrew, Penn State University



The Trembling Border between the World and its Reflections: Hanoch Levin’s Poetics of Tormented Bodies (Manuscript in Progress).

Books Chapters

“Politics of Desire: Brechtian ‘epic Theater’ in Hanoch Levin’s Postmodern Satire,” in Theater in Israel, ed. Linda Ben-Zvi (Ann-Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1996), pp. 173-199.

“The struggle for Origin/inality : Writing as Model or as Psychological Reality,” (in Hebrew), in An Overcoat for Benjamin, Vol. 2, ed. Ziva Ben-Porat (Tel Aviv: The Porter Institute for Poetics & Semiotics, 2001), pp. 375-411.

“The Theater and its Double: Cruelty in Levin’s Theater,” in Hanoch Levin: The Man with the Myth in the Middle, ed. Nurit Yaari and Shimon Levi, (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 2004), pp. 98-125.

“When Humor Turns Uncanny: Kliest’s Marionettes and Hoffmann’s Mechanical Dolls,” in The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater , ed. Domnica Radulescu and Maria Stadter Fox (Lexington Book, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005), pp. 53-62.

“The Lake of Seduction: Body, Acting, and Voice in Hélène Cixous’s Portrait de Dora,” (reprinted) in Literature in Psychoanalysis: A Reader, ed. Steve Vine (Polgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp.196-210.

“Writing as Grafting: An (Im)Pure Action,” in El Besar Ha-Lashon [To the Flesh of the Tongue]: Yitzhak Laor’s Prose Fiction, ed. Ariel Hirshfeld and Sigal Naor-Perlman, (HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, forthcoming), pp.

Journal Articles

“The Ozick-Bloom Controversy: Anxiety of Influence, Usurpation as Idolatry, and the Identity of Jewish-American Literature,” Studies in American Literature, Vol.11, No. 1 (1992), pp. 63-82.

“Cruelty and Affirmation in the Postmodern Theater: Antonin Artaud and Hanoch Levin,” Modern Drama, 35:4 (1992), pp. 585-606.

“The lake of Seduction: Silence, Hysteria, and the Space of Feminist Theatre,” Journal of Theater and Drama, Vol. 2 (1996), pp. 175-200.

“The lake of Seduction: Body, Acting, and Voice in Helene Cixous’s Portrait de Dora,” Modern Drama, 39:4 (1996), pp. 626-649.

“A Pompeiian Fancy under Jaffa’s Sea: Agnon’s Betrothed and Jensen’s Gradiva,” Prooftexts, 16:3 (1996), pp. 243-267.

“Between Literature and Theater: Hanoch Levin and the Author’s Function,” Journal of Theater and Drama, 5-6 (1999-2000), pp. 23-57.

“The Trauerspeil Plot Pattern in Levin’s Torments Plays” (in Hebrew), Motar, 8 (Tel Aviv University, 2000), pp. 15-36.

“The Lake of Seduction: Body, Acting, and Voice in Hélène Cixous’s Portrait de Dora,” (reprinted) in Contemporary Literary Criticism, vol. 253 (Gale, 2009).

Book Reviews and Non-Academic Publications

“S.Y. Agnon and the Drama of Writing,” Review (in Hebrew) of Between Exile and Return by Ann Golomb-Hofman (New York: State University of New York Press, 1991), 236p., Hadoar (April 1992), pp. 14-16.

“S.Y. Agnon: An Artist of Indirection,” Review (in Hebrew) of Agnon’s Art of Indirection: Uncovering Latent Content in the Fiction of S.Y. Agnon, by Niza Ben-Dov (E.J. Brill, 1993), 168p., Hadoar (June 1994), pp. 18-21.

Review of Antonin Artaud and the Modern Theater , Gene A. Plunka, ed., (Madison: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 1994) 285p., Modern Drama vol. 39, No. 2 (1996), pp. 355-356.

“The Woman in the Mirror of Culture,” Review of Alei Si’ach no. 34, Haaretz Book Review, Vol 6 no. 84 (10.5. 1994).

Review of The Judaic Nature of Israeli Theater: A Search for Identity, by Dan Urian, Journal of Theater and Drama, 5-6 (1999-2000), pp. 231-236.

Review of Urian’s Hebrew version of The Judaic Nature in Haaretz Book Review No. 331 (6.30.1999).

Review (in Hebrew) of Ahuva Belkin’s The Purim Speil: Studies in Folk Jewish Theater (Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 2002), 287p., Huliot 8 (Winter 2004), pp. 261-264.

“Acre 18th Festival for Other Theater,”(in Hebrew), Bama, vol. 149-150 (1998), pp. 95-97.

“Acre 19th Festival for Other Theater: review of Rust”, Hateatron 2 (Spring 1999) (in Hebrew).

“The Woman Behind the Scene: An Interview with Playwright Edna Mazia,” This Season in Teatron Hatzafon (2000-2001), pp. 38-40 (in Hebrew).

“Between Feminism and Chauvinism,” (in Hebrew) Special Program for “Woman 2000 ”Festival for Creative Women, Holon March 4-11 2000.

Review of Yitzhak Laor, Hanoch Levin: A Monography, Haaretz “Sifrut Ve-Tarbut”, November 2010.