Abstract

Critics have lauded Albert Cohen for his vehement affirmation of Jewish identity, in contrast to the reserve historically exercised by French Jewish intellectuals with respect to their own Jewishness. Cohen has been equally praised for the exaltation of femininity and maternal love in his writing. Despite Cohen's ostensibly philosemitic and pro-feminine stance, his works exhibit both antisemitic and misogynistic discourses inscribed with a positive authorial evaluation. This essay examines the psychological and cultural conflicts underlying the representation of Jewish and female subjects in Cohen's major novels and autobiographical texts. Situating his writing within the dual framework of Melanie Klein's theories of mourning and artistic reparation and Sander Gilman's theorization of Jewish self-hatred, I argue that Cohen's novels succumb to the destructive forces of the maternal/cultural schism, while his autobiographical texts transcend the writer's ambivalence towards women and Jewish identity through textual acts of reparation.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 27-48
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.