In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

186 \ SHOFAR Winter 1993 Vol. 11, No.2 this belief for the vast majority of French Jews; it just simply showed them that their efforts at assimilation were still rejected by a significant portion of the French population. Burns,shows, nevertheless, in his depiction of what happened to the next generation of the Dreyfus family following the affair that their unabated faith in France and the promises of the Revolution were somewhat misplaced. The Dreyfus family, for example, paid a heavy price in the First World War with the death of two sons and a son-in-law. After the war, the antisemitic press in France only grew in intensity. Prominent Jews who dedicated their lives to the Republican state were the target of this press.' Finally, despite their absolute attachment to France and its Republican values, French Jews were reduced one again to second-class status by the Vichy government. Several members of the Dreyfus family would be betrayed by fellow countrymen and sent to German death camps. In the end, as Burns concludes, the Dreyfus family, and French Jews in general, paid a heavy price for their belief in the twin promises of the French Revolution. Dwayne Woods Department of Political Science Purdue University Inscribing the Other, by Sander L. Gilman. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991. 372 pp. $30.00. Ten of the thirteen chapters of this collection have been published as journal essays; while Gilman makes some effort in his introduction to define common ground, he wisely does not push the point. The essays do have a chronological order, moving from Goethe to Primo Levi; and those familiar with Gilman's previous work will discover certain recurring psychological and linguistic motifS-Jewish self-definition in an antisemitic world, the "hidden language" of the Jews. However, I save my admiration not for the unity of the book, but for the brilliance of its separate parts; Gilman's potent command of his subject-matter, from the Middle Ages to contemporary writing, is everywhere apparent. He never fails to strike us with the shrewd insight, the sharp observation, the thought-provoking 'See Pierre Bimbaum,J;es Fous de fa Republique: Histoire politique desjuifs d'Etat de Gambetta Ii Vichy (Paris: Fayard, 1992). Book Reviews 187 challenge. Sander Gilman is one of the few psychologizing critics left whom, despite an unwieldy vocabulary at times, I always find profitable. The introduction summarizes the concepts of "self" and "other" as Gilman uses them within his psychological paradigm; we create fictions of our "self," through contact with the other, fictions enabling us to deal with the world. When these fictions become overly rigid (stereotypes) they reflect problems with our capacity to live in a fluid world-a problem of "ontological security." Gilman's special interest is how the application of this paradigm to German culture reveals the seeds of the Holocaust embedded within: "the German project begun in the Teutoburger Wald ends in Buchenwald." Gilman opens a personal vein at once beautifully on target and yet troubling in its sweep: "It is from the centrality of the Holocaust in the study of German culture that we must move [as teachers of German literature]. This is not the age of 'postmodernism,' it is the post-Holocaust age.... My own work centers on the question of how the German saw the Jew, what in his or her history of the understanding of the Jew (and the Jew's understanding of his or her self) permitted the pathological demonization which led to the view of the Jew as a vermin." That is fine, and true for other than German teachers, since, as Gilman notes, "the process of dehumanization is universal." I do find troubling, however, Gilman's faith in his paradigm: "Mine is a historicism rooted in the general psychological structures which all human beings have." If the seeds of fascism are to be found in rigidity of thinking, totalizing systems that underlie totalitarianism, one might hope for more flexibility from Gilman, who rides very hard what is essentially a single-minded, inflexible hobby-horse. If the "normal" individual (Gilman's concept, not mine) is one who maintains a "subconscious awareness of the slipperiness of life...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 186-188
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.