Ruth von Bernuth

Ruth von Bernuth

Professor of German

Office location

Dey Hall 423

Ruth von Bernuth (Ph.D. 2005, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) researches the literature and culture of the late medieval/early modern period—or the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries—with a special emphasis on the sixteenth century. Further specialties include Yiddish and conversion literature. Her first book, Wunder, Spott und Prophetie: Natürliche Narrheit in den Historien von Claus Narren (Niemeyer, 2009), focuses on natural folly, the precursor to the 19th-century constructs of mental illness and mental disability. Drawing on references from religious, scientific, and literary texts, she argues that natural fools were not yet a source of worry but of wonder.  In her second book, How the Wise Men Got to Chelm: The Life and Times of a Yiddish Folk Tradition (New York University Press, 2016), she unpacks the connection between German and Yiddish literary traditions by complicating the assumption that folk tales were simply transferred from the German via Old Yiddish translation into modern Yiddish.

  • Yiddish Literature & Culture
  • Popular Culture
  • Jewish Studies
  • GDR
  • Disability Studies
  • Medieval and Early Modern
  • Literature & Religion
Curriculum Vitae