Esther Starry Schor

Leonard L. Milberg '53 Professor of American Jewish Studies; Professor of English; Chair, Council of the Humanities; Director, Stewart Seminars in Religion; Director, Program in Humanistic Studies
44b McCosh Hall

Esther Schor earned her BA in English and Music and Ph.D. in English from Yale, with a couple of years’ work in publishing in between. At Princeton, her courses revolve around two centers: British Romanticism; and Literature, Scripture and Religion. In the former circuit, recent courses include Xtreme Romanticism, Chameleons and Impostors in the Romantic Era, Romantic Poetry and Poetics, Romantic Historicism, Romantic Drama, and Travel Literature; courses in the latter include Confessions; Job, Literature and Modernity; Underworlds; and Bible, Criticism and Theory.  In 2015, she became the Inaugural Behrman Professor in the Humanities Council and served as Acting Chair for 2017-2018. She has taught the Western Humanities Sequence several times. For many years, she has served on the Executive Committee of the Program in Judaic Studies, where she teaches American Jewish Literature, Introduction to Judaism, and Yiddish literature in Translation.

She writes in many modes, for many audiences. For academic audiences, she has written Bearing the Dead: The British Culture of Mourning from the Enlightenment to Victoria (Princeton, 1994) and edited or co-edited the Cambridge Companion to Mary ShelleyThe Other Mary Shelley: Beyond “Frankenstein” (Oxford, 1993), and Women’s Voices: Visions and Perspectives (McGraw-Hill, 1990). For a wider audience, she recently published Bridge of Words:  Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language (Henry Holt/Metropolitan, 2016)a hybrid of cultural history and memoir based on seven years of experience in the Esperanto community. Her biography Emma Lazarus (Nextbook/Schocken), which won the 2006 National Jewish Book Award, has recently been issued  in paperback; as an offshoot from this project, she has curated exhibitions on Lazarus for the American Library Association and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Her poems, some of them based on historical research, have appeared in two volumes:  Strange Nursery (Sheep Meadow) and The Hills of Holland (Archer).  In 2016, she received a residency in Venice to write a sequence of poems about the 17th-century Venetian intellectual Sarra Copia Sullam. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Raritan, The New Republic, Tablet Magazine, The TLS and European Romantic Review, among other venues.