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Guide to the John Felstiner Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement note
  • Access Terms

  • Overview

    Call Number: SC1113
    Creator: Felstiner, John.
    Title: John Felstiner papers
    Dates: circa 1960s-1990s
    Physical Description: 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.
    Repository: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Green Library
    557 Escondido Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-6064
    Email: specialcollections@stanford.edu
    Phone: (650) 725-1022
    URL: http://library.stanford.edu/spc

    Administrative Information

    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.

    Cite As

    [identification of item], John Felstiner Papers (SC1113). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Processing Notes

    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.

    Biographical/Historical note

    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 festivals: thisdustofwords.com .
    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.
    In writing 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:. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102795472 . 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.

    Arrangement note

    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).

    Access Terms

    Felstiner, John.
    Stanford University. Department of English.
    American poetry- -20th century- -History and criticism
    American poetry--20th century.
    Literary criticism
    Poetry, Modern
    Poetry, modern--20th. century.
    Translating and interpreting.