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Oct.5, 2011

Vol. 112, No. 2


Michael A. Bernstein ’69

Published in the Oct.5, 2011, issue

Michael Bernstein, professor of English and comparative literature at UC Berkeley, died May 25, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. He was 63.

Michael’s writing gracefully synthesized the subjects about which he was so broadly learned: history, literature, art, and politics. His writings include: Prima della Rivoluzione, The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic, Bitter Carnival: Ressentiment and the Abject Hero, Foregone Conclusions: Against Apocalyptic History, and Five Portraits: Modernism and the Imagination in Twentieth-Century German Writing.

Michael’s novel, Conspirators, was named one of the 25 best of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times. He was working on a new novel at the time of his death. He was awarded the Koret Israel Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was beloved for his course that taught the entirety of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust.

He was a devoted father to his three daughters, Anna-Nora, from his first marriage, and Amitai and Oriane Sachs-Bernstein, from his marriage to Dalya Sachs-Bernstein, his widow, who survives him in sorrow.

Donations in his memory may be made to UC Berkeley’s Professor Michael A. Bernstein Memorial Fund by calling 510-642-1212 or going to the website

The Class of 1969

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1 Remembrance posted for Michael A. Bernstein

Kevin Zeidler Says:

2012-03-01 11:14:17

Professor Bernstein and I were not close. Our knowing each other was limited to a single conversation during office hours. The distance between us was like that of earth and a polestar: vast, and light-years away. It lasted about five minutes before he excused himself to play tennis. But his lectures on Proust inspired me to be something more and better, and somehow more true to myself than I was when I first heard them. I am 25 now. Six years have elapsed since then. I came across this eulogy while searching for some trace of his lectures and I'm deeply saddened. His mark on me is greater than almost anyone's. I think often of his course, and my remembrances have shaped the direction of my life. My sincerest condolences to his family.
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