Irene Nemirovsky: Her Life and Works


?This short critical biography by Weiss, an expert on contemporary French literature, is a fine introduction to her work.??Publishers Weekly
"...A brief, but intensely thought-provoking biography by Jonathan Weiss..."
?The San Francisco Chronicle
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“This short critical biography by Weiss, an expert on contemporary French literature, is a fine introduction to her work.”—Publishers Weekly
"...A brief, but intensely thought-provoking biography by Jonathan Weiss..."
—The San Francisco Chronicle
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Némirovsky's search to reconcile national, religious, and cultural identities, Weiss recognizes the struggle of many immigrants in France today. For this reason, more general readers may enjoy this biography as much for the fresh perspectives it bring to questions of national and cultural identity currently under debate in the Francophone world as for the insights it brings to Némirovsky's life and literature. Scholars will value the complete bibliography of her published and unpublished works, Weiss's attention to the present controversy regarding Némirovsky's anti-Semitism, and his sensitive and well informed readings of her work, including Suite française. This critical volume provides solid evidence that Némirovsky should be included among the most important writers of twentieth-century French fiction."—Hollie Markland Harder, French Review

"Immensely clarifying . . . As Weiss's important and prodigiously researched biography makes clear, Némirovsky was the very definition of a self-hating Jew."—The New Republic

"[An] informative work, neatly structured to bring out the dramatic and tragic fate of a woman who, as [Weiss] puts it, 'died without ever having resolved the question of where she belonged.' It is a book well worth reading."—Australian Book Review

"This short critical biography by Weiss, an expert on contemporary French literature, is a fine introduction to her work."—Publishers Weekly

"[A] brief, but intensely thought-provoking biography by Jonathan Weiss."—The San Francisco Chronicle

Publishers Weekly
Ir ne N mirovsky's brilliant 1940 novel Suite Fran aise was a surprise bestseller earlier this year. N mirovsky published more than a dozen novels and several biographies in her short lifetime, achieving acclaim in her adopted country of France. But information about the life and career of the Russian-born Jewish novelist, who died in Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of 39, has been scarce. This short critical biography by Weiss, an expert on contemporary French literature, is a fine introduction to her work. N mirovsky attained literary stature in France in 1930 with the publication of David Golder, a satiric portrait of the Parisian Jewish business community. Weiss's analysis of the Jewish press's negative response to David Golder (they "reeled, as if struck by a bomb") is excellent. N mirovsky continued to have a fruitful literary career until her deportation to Auschwitz. Weiss offers a discussion of N mirovsky's 1939 conversion to Catholicism, which appears to have been sincere although at the same time she was exploring the personal meaning of Judaism in her life. At times Weiss relies too heavily on autobiographical readings of N mirovsky's novels, but such a tack is understandable given that we are in the early stages of scholarly work to be done, of which this is a fascinating and important beginning. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Born in Kiev of an assimilated Russian-Jewish family, writer Irene Nemirovsky (1903-42) emigrated to France in 1919 and, along with her husband and children, converted to Catholicism in 1939. In her major works-David Golder, The Wine of Solitude, and Two-N mirovsky wrote of Jewish immigrant middle-class life in France between the world wars. Her views of Jews and Judaism were harsh, and she moved in a group of anti-Semitic writers, magazines, editors, and publishing houses. Weiss (French-Canadian Theatre) offers an engrossing study of this popular writer and her circle, drawing on interviews, documents, and N mirovsky's own writings. He examines her friendships with several anti-Semitic figures and is especially insightful in describing the economic, political, and cultural world of 1930s France. His poignant chapters on Nemirovsky's last years in the small village of Issy-l'Eveque as she tries to escape destruction are carefully written and make for difficult reading. N mirovsky's novel Suite Fran aise was published in France to much literary acclaim in 2004; a highly praised translation has just appeared in English. This is a cruel story of a woman whose complex and contradictory life and writings highlighted the unforgiving times in which she lived. Recommended for literature and Jewish studies collections.-Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804754811
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/7/2006
  • Series: Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,277,262
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Weiss is Professor of French Language and Literature at Colby College. In 1996, he met Irène Némirovsky's two daughters. With their help, he was able to consult all the documents that their mother had passed on to them. This biography is the result of that research and of close textual analysis of Némirovsky's literary work.
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