The Imaginary Jew

Overview

The Holocaust changed what it means to be a Jew, for Jew and non-Jew alike. Much of the discussion about this new meaning is a storm of contradictions. In The Imaginary Jew, Alain Finkielkraut describes with passion and acuity his own passage through that storm.

Finkielkraut decodes the shifts in anti-Semitism at the end of the Cold War, chronicles the impact of Israel?s policies on European Jews, opposes arguments both for and against cultural assimilation, reopens questions ...

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Overview

The Holocaust changed what it means to be a Jew, for Jew and non-Jew alike. Much of the discussion about this new meaning is a storm of contradictions. In The Imaginary Jew, Alain Finkielkraut describes with passion and acuity his own passage through that storm.

Finkielkraut decodes the shifts in anti-Semitism at the end of the Cold War, chronicles the impact of Israel’s policies on European Jews, opposes arguments both for and against cultural assimilation, reopens questions about Marx and Judaism, and marks the loss of European Jewish culture through catastrophe, ignorance, and cliché. He notes that those who identified with Israel continued the erasure of European Judaism, forgetting the pangs and glories of Yiddish culture and the legacy of the Diaspora.

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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
“The Imaginary Jew is brilliant and rueful and bitter at the same time. It shows the joint influence of Sartre and Philip Roth—a combination that only Alain Finkielkraut could bring off.”—New Yorker
Jewish Chronicle
“Finkielkraut’s profoundly personal account of his struggle with Jewish identity is entertaining, witty and . . . unquestionably insightful.”—Jewish Chronicle
Voice Literary Supplement
“Finkielkraut is exciting to read; good to think with. He delivers sharp and smart prose. . . . [A] most compelling book.”—Voice Literary Supplement
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A meditation on memory and Judaism in the contemporary world, by the internationally respected French thinker. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Finkielkraut, one of France's most respected left-wing Jewish intellectuals, originally penned this ``autobiographical work of cultural criticism'' in 1980 as a meditation on Judaism, modernity, and his own tortuous path through life as an ``imaginary Jew,'' living off a borrowed identity, to a newfound commitment to Jewish memory. Readers of this fine translation may wish that parts of the book had been updated or that a more helpful introduction had been supplied. The volume nevertheless remains valuable not only as a period piece but for its many insights on subjects that range from the contemporary condition of French Jewry to the ongoing significance of Jewish memory. For specialized university libraries.-Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803268951
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Series: Texts and Contexts Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,030,447
  • Lexile: 1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Paris in 1949, Alain Finkielkraut is the author of eight books, including The Wisdom of Love (Nebraska 1997). Kevin O’Neill is an associate professor of French at the University of Colorado, Denver. David Suchoff, an associate professor of English at Colby College, is the author of Critical Theory and the Novel: Mass Society and Cultural Criticism in Dickens, Melville and Kafka.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Pt. I The Romance of the Yellow Star
1 The Protagonist Introduced 3
2 All German Jews? 17
3 From the Novelesque to Memory 35
Pt. 1 The Visible and the Invisible
4 The Jew and the Israelite: Chronicle of a Split 57
5 The Ostentation of Nothingness 81
6 The Different States of the Child Prodigy's Soul 101
Pt. 3 The Dispersed and Their Kingdom
7 The Dream of the Diaspora 117
8 The Resurrection of the Octopus 147
9 Another Desire 171
Notes 181
Index 193
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