Between Two Walls



Vera Schwarcz is Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University. Her BA was from Vassar College with a MA from Yale, a MAA from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Standford Univerisity.

Born in Romania, Schwarcz has taught Chinese history at Stanford University, Wesleyan University, as well as at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Beijing University and Centre Chine in Paris. She is serving currently as Director of the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies and Chair of the East Asian Studies Program at Wesleyan. She is the author of eight books, including the prize-winning Bridge Across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory (Yale University Press, 1999) as well as Time for Telling Truth Is Running Out: Conversations with Zhang Shenfu (Yale, 1986); The Chinese Enlightenment (Berkeley, 1984) and most recently –Place and Memory in Singing Crane Garden (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). She is also the author of three books of poetry including A Scoop of Light and In The Garden of Memory– a collaboration with the Prague-born Israeli artist Chava Pressburger.

Her most recent book (Schwarcz, Vera (2008). Place and Memory in the Singing Crane Garden. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812241006.) centers on the problem of truth in comparative history:

The Singing Crane Garden in northwest Beijing has a history dense with classical artistic vision, educational experimentation, political struggle, and tragic suffering. Built by the Manchu prince Mianyu in the mid-nineteenth century, the garden was intended to serve as a refuge from the clutter of daily life near the Forbidden City. In 1860, during the Anglo-French war in China, the garden was destroyed. One hundred years later, in the 1960s, the garden served as the “oxpens,” where dissident university professors were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. Peaceful Western involvement began in 1986, when ground was broken for the Arthur Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology. Completed in 1993, the Museum and the Jillian Sackler Sculpture Garden stand on the same grounds today.


Garden of Flourishing Grace (forthcoming, Red Feather Press)

Place and Memory in Singing Crane Garden (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008)

Truth is Woven (Premier Poets Chapbook Series, 2005)

In the Garden of Memory (March Street Press, 2004)

A Scoop of Light (March Street Press, 2000)

Fresh Words for a Jaded World – and selected poems (Blue Feather Press, Co., 2000)

Bridge Across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory (Yale University Press, Spring 1998)

Time for Telling Truth is Running Out: Conversations with Zhang Shenfu (Yale University Press, 1992)

The Chinese Enlightenment: The Legacy of the May Fourth Movement in Modern China (University of California, Berkeley Press, 1986)

Long Road Home: A China Journal (Yale University Press, 1984)


“The Art of Poetry, Part II, (July 2007)

“Truth and History: The Chinese Mirror,” History and Theory, Volume 46; Number 2 (2007) pp. 281-291

“Travels in China,” Binah (March 19, 2007) pp. 18-25

“The Art of Poetry Part I, A Conversation with Yidan Han,” (January 2007)

“Jiu ji mang mang” (Blurred and boundless traces from the past – historical trauma in the work of the Manchu Prince Yihuan) in Bijiao wenxhe yu shijie wenxhe (Comparative Literature and World Literature) Bejing University Press, (2005) pp. 154-167

“Wu si liang dai zhi shi Jen zi” (Two generations of May Fourth intellectuals) in Xi Jilin, editor 20 Shi Dai Zhong quo zhi shi Jen zi liang (Essays on 20th Century Intellectual History) (Shang hai, 2005)

“Zamen you zhiyin” (A Wordless Connection) in Chen Lai, ed. Bu Xi Ji: Huiyi Zhang Dainian Xiansheng (Unbroken Threads: Essays in Memory of Professor Zhang Dainian). Beijing, 2005. pp. 340 – 346.

“Historical Memory and Personal Identity,” B’or Ha’Torah No 15. (2005) pp.56 – 60

“Through and Against the Tide of History: Zhu Guanqian and the Legacy of May Fourth,” China Studies, No. 5 (1999)

“Garden and Museum: Shadows of Memory at Peking University,” East Asian History 17/18 (1999)

“The Burden of Memory: The Cultural Revolution and the Holocaust,” China Information (Summer 1996)

“The Pane of Sorrow: Public Uses of Personal Grief in Modem China,” Daedalus (Winter, 1996)

“Di er ci shi Jie da zhan: zai bo wu guan de guang zhao zhi wai (World War II: Beyond the Museum Lights) in Dong Fang (The Orient)” Vol. 5 (1995)

“Chinese History, Jewish Memory”: Shapes of Memory, ed. Geoffrey Hartman (London: Basil Blackwell Ltd., 1994)

“No Solace from Lethe,” in The Living Tree: The Changing Meaning of Being Chinese Today, edited by Tu Wei­ming (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994)

“Amnesie historique dans la Chine du XX e siecle,” Genre Humain, special issue, “Politiques de L’Oubli,” No. 18 (Paris, 1988)


Guggenheim Fellowship (1989-90)

Poetry Fellowship, Great River Arts Institute, Patzcuaro, Mexico (January, 2000)

Wesleyan Writers Conference – Poetry Fellowship (1999)

American Council of Learned Societies (Summer 1996)

Founders Fellowship, American Association of University Women, 1988-89

Danforth Foundation: Kent Fellowship (1971-1973)

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Tami Zemach-Marom

    Dear Vera,
    I am Tami, Chava Pressburger’s daughter. We met in one of your visits in Jerusalem. I hope you are well. I am writing to you because my mother cannot write due to her health condition.
    Ilka Wonschik, an art historian from Germany is going to publish a book about my mother’s art. Among other things she wants to cite poem/s together with the art work of my mother which accompanied them. Is it o.k with you and if so could you please send me your e-mail so the author could contact you directly?
    Thank you!
    Warm wishes

  2. Julie Benschop

    Dear Professor Schwarcz,

    I would like to contact you on behalf of Amsterdam University Press. Could you please be so kind and send me your mail address?
    Thank you very much in advance.

    kind regards,

    Julie Benschop

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