Jane O. Newman, professor of comparative literature and European languages and studies at the University of California, Irvine, has received a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin to complete her book on literary theorist and German-Jewish author Erich Auerbach during the spring 2017 semester.

The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from America who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. Chosen by an independent selection committee, fellows receive a monthly stipend, partial board, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee. Newman is among 23 scholars, writers and artists who have been awarded Berlin Prize fellowships for 2016-2017.

“We look forward to welcoming another group of outstanding fellows to the Academy,” said Gerhard Casper, president of the Academy in a written statement. “By working with their peers and partner institutions in Berlin and presenting their projects to the public, they will actively contribute to the exchange of ideas between the US and Germany.”

As a comparatist, Newman has long been engaged with Auerbach’s work. Exiled from Nazi Germany under Hitler, Auerbach spent eleven years teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, before moving to the U.S. after the end of World War II. Here, he made a reputation as one of the founders of comparative literature. Newman began to plan a book about Auerbach’s work in 2007, the 50th anniversary of his death, when she was invited to present a series of lectures on his thought at several international conferences. She then spent four years working to bring Auerbach’s German-language essays to life for the English-speaking world. Her translation of twenty essays in Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach (Princeton University Press, 2014) received critical praise, including the Modern Language Association of America’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study. The Berlin Prize will provide Newman with the time and resources to complete her current book project, Auerbach’s Worlds: Early / Modern Mimesis between Religion and History.

Daniel Joseph Martinez, Donald Bren Professor of art within the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine has also received a Berlin Prize. Martinez will explore the convergence of Western civilization and technology during the fall 2016 semester.

To learn more about Newman, please visit her faculty profile here. A paperback edition of Time, History, and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach is now available here.

Comparative Literature