TARN, NATHANIEL (1928– ), English poet and anthropologist. Tarn was born in Paris and in 1960 became a lecturer in anthropology at London University, specializing in the culture and ethnology of Latin America and the Pacific islands. In his
Tarn's poetry which displays a certain metaphysical quality is deeply influenced by *Ḥasidism and the *Kabbalah. This is apparent in poems on R. Abraham *Abulafia, R. *Simeon Bar Yoḥai, and *Israel b. Eliezer the Ba'al Shem Tov. Tarn sees in Jewish mysticism a means of defining and, perhaps, assuaging the existential crisis of modern man. In "Where Babylon Ends" he visualizes the 20th-century situation in terms of a confrontation between Babylon and Jerusalem, and in "Noah on Ararat Again" he finds in the Bible story an image of survival after flood and holocaust which is pointedly relevant to mid-20th-century experience. His Selected Poems: 1950 – 2000 was published in 2002 and another book of poetry, Recollections of Being, in 2004. In later years Tarn lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
H. Fisch, in: Judaism, 14 (1965), 479–90.
[Harold Harel Fisch]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.