Indiana University Press

Jewish Literature and Culture

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Jewish Literature and Culture

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Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History

Berel Lang

"These essays are extremely well written, with the clarity and accessibility that one has come to expect from Berel Lang, one of the most respected and significant philosophers writing about the Holocaust and its impact." -- Michael L. Morgan

In these trenchant essays, philosopher Berel Lang examines post-Holocaust intepretations -- and misinterpretations -- showing the ways in which rhetoric and ideology have affected historical discourse about the Holocaust and how these accounts can be deconstructed. Why didn't the Jews resist? How could the Germans have done what they did? Why didn't more bystanders join in the rescue? In Lang's view, these questions become mischievous when the circumstances in which victims, perpetrators, and bystanders played their roles are omitted or obscured. To confront such issues adequately requires comparative and contextual evidence. Post-Holocaust addresses such questions as the place of the Holocaust in the Nazi project as a whole, the roles of revenge and forgiveness in post-Holocaust Jewish thinking, Holocaust commemoration as artifice or "business," and the relationship of the Holocaust to traditional antisemitism. Lang's analysis provides an incisive and fruitful basis for confronting these critical subjects.

Jewish Literature and Culture -- Alvin H. Rosenfeld, editor

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The Subject of Holocaust Fiction

Emily Miller Budick

Fictional representations of horrific events run the risk of undercutting efforts to verify historical knowledge and may heighten our ability to respond intellectually and ethically to human experiences of devastation. In this captivating study of the epistemological, psychological, and ethical issues underlying Holocaust fiction, Emily Miller Budick examines the subjective experiences of fantasy, projection, and repression manifested in Holocaust fiction and in the reader’s encounter with it. Considering works by Cynthia Ozick, Art Spiegelman, Aharon Appelfeld, Michael Chabon, and others, Budick investigates how the reading subject makes sense of these fictionalized presentations of memory and trauma, victims and victimizers.

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Theodor Herzl

From Assimilation to Zionism

Jacques Kornberg

"An original and brilliant thesis, exposing a long misunderstood figure. A great book." -- Bernard Avishai

"Excellent... a highly revealing portrait that demolishes Herzl-the-icon." -- Michael Marrus

"Other biographers... have illuminated aspects of [Herzl's] life, but none has been able to produce the kind of intellectual biography that we have here. Jacques Kornberg has done an admirable job of plumbing the depths of Herzl's mind to try to come to an understanding of just why he became a Zionist and why he was literally consumed with promoting Zionist goals." -- Cithara

"With compassion and critical balance, placing his subject well within his Austrian milieu, Kornberg analyzes Herzl's rhetoric, tergiversations, and profound ambivalence over his politics and identity."  -- Choice

"... a masterful display of the sources... " -- American Historical Review

"... stimulating, provocative and agreeably iconoclastic... powerful and compelling." -- German History

A novel and provocative explanation of Theodor Herzl's founding of Zionism as a way of resolving his personal crisis over his Jewish identity.

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Using and Abusing the Holocaust

Lawrence L. Langer

"Langer, by the force of scholarship and literary precision rather than dogmatic affirmation and pathos, is one of the few writers, with the exception of significant poets and novelists, who unsettles both our customary language and conceptual instruments. His book is a moral as well as an intellectual act of a very high order." —Geoffrey Hartman, author of The Longest Shadow

In this new volume, Langer—one of the most distinguished scholars writing on Holocaust literature and representation—assesses various literary efforts to establish a place in modern consciousness for the ordeal of those victimized by Nazi Germany’s crimes against humanity. Essays discuss the film Life Is Beautiful, the uncritical acclaim of Fragments, the fake memoir by Benjamin Wilkomirski, reasons for the exaggerated importance still given to Anne Frank’s Diary, and a recent cycle of paintings on the Old Testament by Holocaust artist Samuel Bak.

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Utter Chaos

Foreword by Joachim Schlör. Translated by Penny Milbouer. Sammy Gronemann

Published in Germany in 1920, Sammy Gronemann’s satirical novel set in 1903 at the time of the Sixth Zionist Congress follows the life of a baptized Jew, Heinz Lehnsen, as he negotiates legal entanglements, German culture, religious differences, and Zionist aspirations. A chance encounter with a long-lost cousin from a shtetl in Russia further complicates the plot and challenges the characters’ notions of Jewish identity and their belief in the claims of the Zionist movement. Gronemann's humor and compassion slyly expose the foibles and contradictions of human behavior. With deep insight into German society, German-Jewish culture, and antisemitism, Utter Chaos paints a highly entertaining portrait of German Jews at the beginning of the twentieth century.

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Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy

Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, ed.

Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy is the first systematic attempt to interpret the Jewish philosophical tradition in light of feminist philosophy and to engage feminist philosophy from the perspective of Jewish philosophy. Written by Jewish women who are trained in philosophy, the 13 original essays presented here demonstrate that no analysis of Jewish philosophy (historical or constructive) can be adequate without attention to gender categories. The essays cover the entire Jewish philosophic tradition from Philo, through Maimonides, to Levinas, and they rethink the subdisciplines of Jewish philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political theory, and theology. This volume offers an invitation for a new conversation between feminist philosophy and Jewish philosophy as well as a novel contribution to contemporary Jewish philosophy.

Contributors are Leora Batnitzky, Jean Axelrad Cahan, Idit Dobbs-Weinstein, Claire Elise Katz, Nancy Levene, Sandra B. Lubarsky, Sarah Pessin, Randi Rashkover, Heidi Miriam Ravven, T. M. Rudavsky, Suzanne Last Stone, Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, and Laurie Zoloth.

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The Writer Uprooted

Contemporary Jewish Exile Literature

Edited by Alvin H. Rosenfeld

The Writer Uprooted is the first book to examine the emergence of a new generation of Jewish immigrant authors in America, most of whom grew up in formerly communist countries. In essays that are both personal and scholarly, the contributors to this collection chronicle and clarify issues of personal and cultural dislocation and loss, but also affirm the possibilities of reorientation and renewal. Writers, poets, translators, and critics such as Matei Calinescu, Morris Dickstein, Henryk Grynberg, Geoffrey Hartman, Eva Hoffman, Katarzyna Jerzak, Dov-Ber Kerler, Norman Manea, Zsuzsanna Ozsvath, Lara Vapnyar, and Bronislava Volkova describe how they have coped creatively with the trials of displacement and the challenges and opportunities of resettlement in a new land and, for some, authorship in a new language.

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