B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University
Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of American Literature; Professor of English
Americanist, translator, performer (music, theater), verse-writer, pacifist
I retain pretty much all the interests I’ve ever had, but this is the order in which each interest has been central: first American diaries, in particular Emerson’s; then the theory and practice of translation, including the theory and practice of musical text-setting and the relations between words and music generally; then, over the last 15 years or so, the American literary representation of language and dialect contact; now Emerson's diaries again; and in the future, nonviolence and literature.
By subject: American literature, comparative literature, Jewish (especially Yiddish) literature nonviolence and the literature of nonviolence, theater, translation. By approach: more and more interested in the extreme forms of teaching, theatrical lectures on the one hand, open-ended seminars, tutorials.
I've been writing a series of more personal essays, notably on nonviolence and on translation. I'm a practicing translator from several languages and have written and performed considerable occasional and theater verse.
I’ve been a pacifist and war tax resister since 1987, that being the occasion for the writing I’ve done on nonviolence; I’ve been increasingly involved in Jewish life, as a Yiddishist and lay cantor and giver of sermons; I’ve been a semi-professional singer of early music since I was in college; my wife, Cynthia Schwan, and I have been married since 1976, and our twin daughters were born in 1980.