Kenneth H. Ober 9 February 1930-26 April 2003

Article excerpt

Kenneth H. Ober, a scholar of 19th-century European literatures and languages, wrote in English, German, French, and Danish on many aspects of Western and Eastern European languages and literatures. His research focused, geographically, on Scandinavia, Russia, and Germany and, thematically, on poetry, translation studies, and Judaica. He was also for many years an MLA bibliographer and published extensively on translations from Icelandic (and Faeroese) literature into world literatures. He has been the only non-Dane to edit a work in Danish for publication with the Danish Society for Literature: the diaries of the 19th-century Danish Jewish writer Meir Aron Goldschmidt. Kenneth Ober mediated between languages and cultures: he translated into English two book-length Russian studies of Icelandic sagas that are considered milestones in the field, as well as Goldschmidt's path-breaking novel, A Jew, and several of his short stories. He rescued from oblivion the 19th-century German Jewish ghetto story--a close rival of the Yiddish stories of the shtetl--in his last book Die Ghettogeschichte (Gottingen: Wallstein, 2001). Of particular interest to readers of TWC are the 14 articles he wrote in collaboration with his brother, Warren U. Ober, on Russian translations of poems by Southey, Gray, Byron, Goldsmith, Crabbe (also with W. …