Scope and Contents
Call Number: SC1113
Title: John Felstiner papers
Dates: circa 1960s-1990s
7.5 Linear feet (6 boxes)
Summary: This collection contains Felstiner's course materials and other Stanford professional files; files related to two of his publications;
captions from exhibits related to four poets; and restricted files (comprised of confidential student Information).
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022
Information about Access
Restricted files closed until January 1, 2060. Otherwise the collection is open for research; materials must be requested
at least 48 hours in advance of intended use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted
to a digital use copy.
Ownership & Copyright
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/pubserv/permissions.html.
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.
[identification of item], John Felstiner Papers (SC1113). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University
Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Many of the folders in this collection were used and labeled several times by Felstiner. In some cases, accurate description
of folder contents actually appears on the bottom of folder, near the fold.
John Felstiner received his A.B. (1958) and Ph.D (1965) from Harvard. In between, he spent three years on the USS Forrestal
in the Mediterranean. Felstiner came to Stanford in 1965. His first book,
The Lies of Art: Max Beerbohm's Parody and Caricature (1972), has to do with parody as a critical, creative, and comic form. Since then his teaching and writing have dealt mainly
with modern poetry. Teaching North American poetry in Chile in 1967-68 led to
Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu (1980), which won the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal, and to an ongoing concern with the practice of literary
translation, along with its interpretive, creative, and theoretical implications. The British Comparative Literature Association
gave 1st and 2nd prizes to his Pablo Neruda and Paul Celan translations.
During the 1970s John developed critical approaches to poetry by civilians and soldiers from the Vietnam era, and after teaching
at the Hebrew University in Israel (1974-75), he began studying the literature, art, photography, and music that emerged from
the European Jewish catastrophe. His book on the German-speaking Jewish poet,
Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew (1995), was a Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award and the MLA's James Russell Lowell prize, and won the Truman
Capote Prize for Literary Criticism.
Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan (Norton, 2001) won the Modern Language Association's biennial Lois Roth Award for Translation of a Literary Work, the American
Translators Association's biennial award for German translation, PEN West's prize for literary translation, and was runner-up
for American PEN's translation award, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize, and the British Society of Authors' Schlegel-Tieck prize.
John co-edited the Norton anthology,
Jewish American Literature (2000). He has held Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEH, and NEA fellowships, taught literary translation twice at Yale, and is
a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This Dust of Words
, John's memoir of his brilliant late-Sixties student Liz Wiltsee, inspired a documentary film that is being screened at various
After retirement, Mary Felstiner and John taught two Stanford courses, to undergrads and adults, on "creative resistance."
That is, writings such as graffiti, letters, poetry, diaries, journals, chronicles, also art and photography, and music of
all sorts, all emerging from victims throughout Nazi-occupied Europe.
Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems
(2009), on poetry and environmental urgency, John worked at the Stanford Humanities Center and the Yaddo, Macdowell, Millay,
Djerassi, Mesa Refuge, and Jentel artists colonies.
American Poetry Review
ran six essays from this book, and NPR's Morning Edition featured it:.
. Poets House in Manhattan focused on his book's theme in '09-'10. Having received a foundation grant, John is currently visiting
high schools around the country to share the environmental awareness that poems can awaken in the next generation. 'Save the
Earth' Poetry Prize is offered in 2012 for 11th & 12th grade high school students.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains course materials and Stanford professional files, which include: course syllabi, lecture notes, and
research files, mostly related to Jewish American literature, the Holocaust, Vietnam, and poetry. There are some correspondence
and other professional files related to general Stanford or departmental matters. The writing series includes files related
to two of Felstiner's publications:
The Lies of Art: Max Beerbohm's Parody and Caricature, and
Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, which Felstiner co-edited. Exhibit captions contain text from exhibits about poets Paul Celan, Franz Kafka, Max Beerbohm,
and Pablo Neruda. The restricted series contains materials separated from the course materials files due to sensitive student
information such as grades, student identification numbers, or other identifiying information. Files are restricted for 75
years from date of creation.
This collection is divided into four series: Course materials and other Stanford professional files; Writing; Exhibit captions;
and Restricted files (comprised of confidential student Information).
Stanford University. Department of English.
American poetry- -20th century- -History and criticism
American poetry--20th century.
Poetry, modern--20th. century.
Translating and interpreting.