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Contemporary Jewish Writing in Europe

A Guide

Edited by Vivian Liska and Thomas Nolden. Foreword by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

Publication Year: 2008

With contributions from a dozen American and European scholars, this volume presents an overview of Jewish writing in post--World War II Europe. Striking a balance between close readings of individual texts and general surveys of larger movements and underlying themes, the essays portray Jewish authors across Europe as writers and intellectuals of multiple affiliations and hybrid identities. Aimed at a general readership and guided by the idea of constructing bridges across national cultures, this book maps for English-speaking readers the productivity and diversity of Jewish writers and writing that has marked a revitalization of Jewish culture in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, and Russia.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Jewish Literature and Culture


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Modern Jewish literature is rich, varied, complex, and endlessly interesting, but in conceptual terms it is also notoriously elusive and resistant to precise definition. Attempts to explain it biographically, thematically, linguistically, and otherwise can be intellectually engaging, but to date no one has succeeded in developing a unified or comprehensive theory of Jewish writing. ...

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pp. xiii

This volume has been in the making for quite some time and has relied on the enthusiasm and patience of many colleagues and friends. We owe great thanks to Alvin H. Rosenfeld for the judicious advice he shared with us most graciously during each phase of this book’s conception, and to Geoffrey H. Hartman for the inspiration he offered to this project. ...

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pp. xv-xxxiii

The revitalization of Jewish culture is one of the most remarkable developments in recent European history. The trauma and losses caused by the Shoah had a devastating effect on European Jewry and still touch the Jewish communities to their core. And yet, a quarter century after the end of World War II, Jewish culture ...

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1. Secret Affinities: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Austria

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pp. 1-22

In the heart of Vienna, slightly off the city center, lies the Judenplatz, an old square lined with baroque facades, restaurants, cafés, and small shops. A 1996 decision to erect a memorial for the 65,000 Austrian Jews murdered by the National Socialists led to the square’s renovation, ...

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2. Writing against Reconciliation: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Germany

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pp. 23-42

In November 1979 Henryk M. Broder and Michel R. Lang published the seminal anthology Fremd im eigenen Land: Juden in der Bundesrepublik (Foreign in One’s Own Country: Jews in the Federal Republic). The volume represented an attempt to demonstrate “what the Jews who live in Germany really think and feel, ...

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3. Remembering or Inventing the Past: Second-Generation Jewish Writers in the Netherlands

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pp. 43-61

Immediately following World War II the Dutch tried to come to terms with the German occupation by emphasizing the sufferings they had endured while at the same time fostering the hope that their newly acquired freedom would change everything. The war was seen as a struggle between good and evil. ...

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4. Bonds with a Vanished Past: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Scandinavia

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pp. 62-89

The Jewish communities in the Scandinavian countries represent an extremely small demographic minority. (“Scandinavia” formally comprises Sweden, Norway, and Denmark but, as is the case here, often includes Finland.) Sweden, whose Jewish population keeps increasing, has the largest concentration of Jews ...

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5. Imagined Communities: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Great Britain

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pp. 90-117

Jewish writing in Britain has a long and multiple history that is only now being retold.1 Starting at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the origins of this literary tradition have been variously understood in relation to the Anglo-Jewish emancipation struggle, as a key aspect of Victorian women’s writing, ...

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pp. 118-138

The process of r

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7. Ital’Yah Letteraria: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Italy

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pp. 139-159

When asked about contemporary Italian Jewish literature, Stefano Levi della Torre, one of Italy’s leading Jewish intellectuals, answered that there was none. He was, of course, wrong in reaching this conclusion but correct in suggesting some differentiations. First, there are in Italian literature important works that deal with what may broadly be called “cultura ebraica,” ...

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8. Writing along Borders: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Hungary

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pp. 160-175

Hungary lies on the border between West and East European Jewry. The religious, linguistic, and literary vestiges of this divide are still visible today and continue to inform Hungarian Jewish literature as a border phenomenon. ...

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9. Making Up for Lost Time: Contemporary Jewish Writing in Poland

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pp. 176-191

Until World War II Poland was the main center of Jewish literary creativity in Polish, Yiddish, and Hebrew. After the war survivors tried to rebuild—at least on a small scale—the Polish Jewish community. Despite various political and economic obstacles, cultural life continued, albeit more subdued (Adamczyk-Garbowska 1999). ...

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10. De-Centered Writing: Aspects of Contemporary Jewish Writing in Russia

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pp. 192-212

Contemporary Russian Jewish literature can be characterized as a “de-centric” form of writing. This term—coined in opposition to Thomas Nolden’s characterization of recent German Jewish literature as “concentric writing” (Nolden 1995)—is derived from the very history of Russian Jews; it refers to their geographical distribution ...

List of Contributors

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pp. 213-216


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pp. 217-224

E-ISBN-13: 9780253000071
E-ISBN-10: 0253000076
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253348753

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Jewish Literature and Culture