Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

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David H. Hirsch papers (MS.2012.030)

Brown University Library

Box A
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: Manuscripts: 401-863-3723; University Archives: 401-863-2148
Email: Manuscripts: hay@brown.edu; University Archives: archives@brown.edu

Biographical Note

David Harry Hirsch (1930-1999) taught English and American literature and Judaic Studies at Brown University from 1961 until his death in 1999 at age 69.

David Hirsch earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New York University, and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1961, where he was an assistant instructor of English before coming to Brown University. His field of study was English and American literature, with an emphasis on the literature of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and T. S. Eliot. He published numerous critical essays in The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, and Modern Language Studies, which he also edited. His book-length publications include Reality and Idea in the Early American Novel (1971) (based on his dissertation) and Critical Essays on T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ (1991), co-edited with Lois Cuddy. In addition to his Brown University position, Hirsch was president of the Poe Studies Association from 1986-1988 and a visiting lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, during 1966-1967.

He also contributed greatly to the fields of Literary and Linguistic theory. His collection of essays The Deconstruction of Literature: Criticism After Auschwitz (1991) was the product of his research on Deconstruction theory and its relation to the ideas of Martin Heidegger, who was a supporter of Nazi politics.

Professor Hirsch introduced the literature of the Holocaust to the Brown University curriculum in 1983, and he taught courses in Holocaust memoir, song, poetry, and fiction. In collaboration with his wife Roslyn, a survivor of the Tarnopol Ghetto, he translated Justyna's Narrative, a Polish Holocaust memoir by Gusta Davidson Draenger, and Auschwitz: True Tales from a Grotesque Land, by Sara Nomberg-Przytyk. He also translated from Yiddish Ghetto Kingdom, the stories of Isaiah Spiegel; the poetry of Abraham Sutzkever; and Aleksander Kulisiewicz’s songs from the Nazi death camps.

Professor Hirsch died in 1999 and was survived by his wife Roslyn and son Joe.