restricted access Femininity and Assimilatory Desire in Joseph Roth

The article examines Joseph Roth's ambivalent attitude toward Jewish assimilation in Hiob and related works. In Hiob, the motor behind Jewish assimilation is figured as both an inexplicable Jewish Wandertrieb and an excessive attraction of Jewish women to Gentile men. Drawing on post-Freudian psychoanalytic theories and sociocultural studies, including Daniel Boyarin's Unheroic Conduct, I explore the implications of this eroticization of a social process. While Roth tends to blame the destruction of Jewish tradition on Jewish women, his notion of an "assimilatory drive" also allows for a productive reengagement with the concept of assimilation.