David B. Suchoff

Professor of English

Office: Miller Library 312 [ campus map ]
Box 5286

Phone: 207-859-5286
Fax: 207-859-5252
Mailing Address:
5286 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8852
Suchoff, David B.


Ph.D. Comparative Literature, U.C. Berkeley

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
EN120D ALanguage, Thought, and Writing: Thinking about Language
EN238 AArt of Fly-Fishing: Maine and Bishop, California
EN271 ACritical Theory
EN323 AVictorian Literature I
EN493C AIreland and Otherness: James Joyce's Ulysses and Early Writings

Other Courses Taught

CourseCourse Title
EN238"The Art of Fly Fishing"

Professional Information

On May 12, 2015, David Suchoff gave the talk “Dissonant Lineages: Beckett, Blanchot, Kafka, Rozenzweig,” at “Dissonance and Dissidence: Counterpoints in Aesthetics and Politics,” Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada.

On Feb. 15, 2015, David Suchoff delivered the Second Annual Maximillian Aue Memorial Lecture at Emory University, entitled “The Hidden Rabe: Kafka’s Openings and Beckett’s Cage.”


Review of David Suchoff, Kafka's Jewish Languages from MLN:

Suchoff, David. Kafka's Jewish languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition. Pennsylvania, 2012. 266p index afp; ISBN 9780812243710, $65.00.

David Suchoff’s Kafka’s Jewish Languages stands in an illustrious tradition of scholarly works that have sought to specify the Jewish dimension of Kafka’s writing. It represents a significant contribution not only in this regard, but also as a model of criticism that meaningfully argues for the diversity of origins and interpretive multiplicity in a major literary author. Suchoff’s point is not simply that figures such as the Law or the Father are ambiguous and multivalent (though he would surely agree they are), but to specify the multiple strands of Jewish influence that inform these and many other elements of Kafka’s writings. He does this with an extraordinary degree of subtlety, detail, and learning.

The book’s brief introduction lays out some of the Yiddish and Hebrew influences in Kafka’s life and presents his argument about “the hidden open- ness of tradition” in broad terms. The first chapter, which reads like the book’s actual introduction, proceeds to present the argument and stakes of the book in greater detail. Suchoff begins with a history of “post-containment” Kafka criticism, by which he means the return of national, ethnic, and religious ques- tions to a critical tradition that had suppressed such concerns in the service of Kafka’s inclusion in a high modernist canon. The turning point is Deleuze and Guattari’s Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, though Walter Benjamin’s 1934 essay “Franz Kafka: On the Tenth Anniversary of His Death” is also credited with providing an initial and very early perspective on a transnational and Jewish Kafka. It should be noted that Suchoff does not pronounce judgment on Deleuze and Guattari’s book, though he does quote some critical voices (Walter Sokel, Stanley Corngold). His main concern, after all, is to emphasize the role of this work in ushering in a trend in Kafka criticism to which his own study belongs.

David Suchoff received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley, and is Professor of English at Colby College. He is author of Critical Theory and the Novel: Mass Society and Cultural Criticism in Dickens, Melville and Kafka (University of Wisconsin Press, 1994), editor, with Mary Rhiel, of The Seductions of Biography (Routledge, 1995), and has published on theory, as well as American, British, Israeli, and Yiddish literature. He is a translator of and author of the Introductions to Alain Finkielkraut's The Imaginary Jew (1994) and The Wisdom of Love (1995); his translation of and Introduction, with Willi Goetschel, to Hermann Levin Goldschmidt's The Legacy of German Jewry was published by the Fordham University Press in 2007. His book Kafka's Jewish Languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition appeared with the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2012. He is now at work on a book on The Trilogy of Samuel Beckett: Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable; the first chapter recently appeared as "The Hidden Rabe: Kafka's Openings in Beckett's Cage," The Germanic Review 90: 123–144, 2015.


On Franz Kafka, "A Country Doctor"
Read About Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1951)
Suchoff on Wittgenstein as a Jewish Philosopher

Critical Theory and the Novel provides a useful introduction to Benjamin and Adorno and their uses in practical criticism. It is also a study of the historical origins of literary theory and cultural criticism and a contribution to the expanding field of Cultural Studies. University of Wisconsin Press.

"Smuggling in the Warsaw Ghetto" by Peretz Opoczynski, Introduction and Translation by David Suchoff, Pakn Treger: Magazine of the National Yiddish Book Center, Fall 2006/5767, no. 52, pp. 32-37.

"Kafka's Languages: Hebrew and Yiddish in The Trial and Amerika, in Doris Sommer, ed., Bilingual Games: Some Literary Investigations (New York: Palgrave/MacMillan, 2003), pp. 251-274.

David Suchoff and Willi Goetschel, ?Das Verm?chtnis des deutschen Judentums: Hermann Levin Goldschmidts unzeitgem??e Betrachtung,? Neue Rundschau 116, Jahrgang 2005:4, December 2005, pp. 168-173.

David Suchoff, "Kafka's Jewish Languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition," Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, 15:2, 2007, pp. 65-132.

The Legacy of German Jewry, by Hermann Levin Goldschmidt, Translated by David Suchoff, Introduction by Willi Goetschel, and David Suchoff, $50.00, ISBN: 9780823228263, Fordham University Press, 224 pages, 2007.

David Suchoff, "Franz Kafka, Hebrew Writer: The Vaudeville of Linguistic Origins," Nexus: The Duke German and Jewish Studies Yearbook, 2012.

David Suchoff, Kafka's Jewish Languages: The Hidden Openness of Tradition, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

David Suchoff, "Family Resemblances: Ludwig Wittgenstein as a Jewish Philosopher," Bamidbar, 2012:1 pp. 75-92.
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