Curt Leviant

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Curt Leviant
Born 1932 (age 84–85)
Vienna, Austria
Occupation Author, Translator, Professor
Nationality American
Notable works
  • The Yemenite Girl
  • The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah

Curt Leviant (born 1932, Vienna[1]) is a retired Jewish Studies professor, as well as a novelist and translator.

He came to the United States in 1938.[1] His 1957 master's thesis was on Lamed Shapiro.[2] His 1966 doctoral thesis was a translation with commentary, published in 1969 as King Artur: A Hebrew Authurian Romance of 1279.

Leviant was also a book reviewer, usually of Jewish authors, with reviews appearing in The New York Times, The Nation, and other publications, especially Jewish media. In more recent years, he has been, co-authoring with his wife, a Jewish travel writer.

According to Lewis Fried, "his fiction is nuanced, surprising, and often arabesque, dealing with the demands of the present and the claims of the past."[3]

Personal life and career[edit]

His parents were Jacques and Fenia Leviant. They spoke Yiddish at home, and encouraged their son's interest in Yiddish literature and theater.[4] He married Erika Leah Pfeifer, they had three daughters, Dalya, Dvora, Shulamit.[5]

His degrees[6] are a BA from CUNY (Brooklyn), an MA from Columbia, and a PhD from Rutgers, where he taught Hebraic studies from 1960.[7][8]


  • The Yemenite Girl. Bobbs-Merrill, 1977; Avon/Bard Books, 1978; Syracuse University Press, 1999
    • expansion of a 1973 short story of the same title, published in The Literary Review, Fall 1973.
    • winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award
  • Passion in the Desert Avon/Bard Books, 1980
  • The Man Who Thought He Was Messiah. Jewish Publication Society, 1990
  • Partita in Venice. Livingston Press, 1999
  • Diary of an Adulterous Woman: A Novel: Including an ABC Dictionary That Offers Alphabetical Tidbits and Surprises. Syracuse University Press, 2001

Shorter fiction[edit]

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, the Original Music of the Hebrew Alphabet and Weekend in Mustara: Two Novellas. University of Wisconsin Press, 2002
  • Zix Zexy Ztories. Texas Tech University Press, 2012


Leviant has translated from Hebrew and Yiddish to English, including:


  1. ^ a b Harry Zohn, Österreichische Juden in der Literatur (Olamenu, 1969), p. 37.
  2. ^ Cited in
  3. ^ "Leviant, Curt" entry in Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition, 2007, v. 12, p. 696.
  4. ^ From his thanks to his parents in some of his Sholom Aleichem translations, Stories and Satires (1959) and Old Country Tales (1966), including their help with obscure Yiddish idioms, especially those of Russian origin.
  5. ^ From the dedication to Masterpieces of Hebrew Literature, Ktav, 1969.
  6. ^ Rutgers Catalog, p. 88
  7. ^ Cecil Roth, Encyclopaedia Judaica (Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1996: ISBN 965-07-0219-9), Vol. 1, p. 33.
  8. ^ The Writers Directory, 31st edition, St. James Press (part of Gale, Cengage Learning) 2013

External links[edit]