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Autobiographical Jews

Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning

Michael Stanislawski

Publication Year: 2012

Examines the nature of autobiographical writing by Jews from antiquity to the present, and the ways in which such writings can legitimately be used as sources for Jewish history. Drawing on current literary theory, which questions the very nature of autobiographical writing and its relationship to what we normally designate as truth, Michael Stanislawski analyzes a small number of autobiographies written by Jews.

Published by: University of Washington Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Series Information, Dedication

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

My first and primary gratitude is to Althea Stroum, who, along with her late husband, Samuel Stroum, created the Samuel and Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies at the University ofWashington. Mrs. Stroum graciously attended all of the lectures I delivered at the University of Washington in May 2002, ...

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Introduction: Autobiography, the Jews, and Episodic Memory

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pp. 3-17

The problem I discuss in these essays is the nature of autobiographical writing by Jews over the centuries, and specifically the ways in which such writings can legitimately be used as sources for Jewish history. My interest in this problem emerged while I was working on my last book, on Zionism and the fin de siècle, ...

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1. Josephus’s Life

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pp. 18-31

I am by training and inclination a historian of modern Jewry, but I should like to begin my investigation in a time, place, and culture in which I have no first-hand experience, ancient Rome, and with a text not usually dealt with by the few other scholars of Jewish autobiography, Josephus’s Life. ...

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2. In the Culture of the Rabbis: Asher of Reichshofen and Glikl of Hameln

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pp. 32-53

Despite his abundantly fertile imagination, Josephus could not possibly have imagined the shape Judaism would take in the centuries, not to speak of millennia, after his death. Although he remains our best, if extraordinarily problematic, source about the Pharisees and the response of the rabbis of his day ...

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3. Two Russian Jews: Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam

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pp. 54-102

At first glance, it would be hard to find two modern Russian Jews so different from one another than Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam. The first, one of the most famous writers of the Hebrew Enlightenment, became an early leader of the “Love of Zion” movement in late-nineteenth-century Russia ...

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4. Autobiography as Farewell I: Stefan Zweig

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pp. 103-138

When Stefan Zweig’s Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines Europäers was first published in Stockholm in 1942, just a few months after his suicide in Brazil, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of autobiographical writing.1 Less than a year later it was translated into English as The World of Yesterday ...

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5. Autobiography as Farewell II:Sarah Kofman

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pp. 139-174

Less than five months after the Zweigs’ suicide—on July 16, 1942—12,884 Jews were rounded up in their beloved Paris by 9,000 Vichy French policemen, from lists carefully prepared in advance. Most of the deportees were first brought to the Velodrome d’Hiver, the large indoor sports arena in the fifteenth arrondissement, ...

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pp. 174-177

In Rue Ordener, Rue Labat Sarah Kofman demonstrated, perhaps to her own profound dismay, that she had a singular gift to do two things she held to be philosophically impossible: first, to articulate a highly idiosyncratic “selfhood”; and secondly, to do so in a narrative form she believed to be untenable after Auschwitz. ...


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pp. 178-195


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pp. 196-203


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pp. 204-209

E-ISBN-13: 9780295803791
E-ISBN-10: 0295803797
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295984162
Print-ISBN-10: 0295984155

Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 811563608
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Autobiographical Jews

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Jewish prose literature -- History and criticism.
  • Autobiography -- Jewish authors.
  • Jewish authors -- Biography -- History and criticism.
  • Jews -- Historiography.
  • Autobiographical memory.
  • Judaism and literature.
  • Self-perception.
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