Modernity, Culture and 'The Jew'

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This book provides a rich and wide-ranging analysis of Jewish history and culture, relating them to theories of modernity and postmodernity and to recent debates on ethnicity and postcolonialism. Issues addressed include psychoanalysis and gender, literary anti-semitism, (post)modernity and 'the Jew', and the memory of the Holocaust. A Foreword by Homi Bhabha and an Afterword by Paul Gilroy place these concerns in an extended multicultural and postcolonial context.

The book examines the work of past and present cultural theorists who have placed the figure of 'the Jew' at the heart of their version of modernity and postmodernity. Many of the essays locate 'the Jew' at the centre of Western metropolitan culture. But they also explore the ways in which Jews have historically been excluded in order for ascendant racial and sexual identities to be formed and maintained. Cheyette and Marcus argue that there is a virtue in the ambivalent positioning which characterizes Jewish history and culture both then and now.

The volume places a disruptive and uncontainable Jewish history and culture in the context of current debates about gendered, sexual and ethnic identities. It challenges postcolonial and postmodern revisions of modernity which locate Jews in a dominant Judeo-Christian tradition or appropriate them to signify the universality of the modern subject. It will be of interest to students and scholars in Jewish studies, cultural studies, sociology, history, literature and philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It has long been recognized that the Jewish experience, in all its ambivalence, stands at the centre of Western modernity. These essays are a splendid testimony to that view. Ranging from the French Revolution to the Holocaust and to current debates on postmodernity, a host of distinguished scholars throws a fresh and piercing light on some of the most significant episodes of modern cultural and political history." Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia

"Modernity, Culture and 'The Jew' is a serious, rewarding book, at the cutting edge of contemporary Jewish studies." Jewish Chronicle

"This book provides a rich and wide-ranging analysis of Jewish history and culture." Bollettino del CIRT

'Brian Cheyette and Laura Marcus have assembled a wonderful anthology of critical essays on the image of Jews and Judaism in modern European culture.' Patterns of Prejudice

"This is a special book on the history of Jewish cultural studies in the United Kingdom, but it is of great value to any critic interested in the problems of the Jews (however defined) and the modern." Studies in Contemporary Jewry

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745620404
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/24/1998
  • Pages: 297
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface by Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus.

Foreword by Homi Bhabha. 1. Some Methodological Anxieties: Bryan Cheyette and Laura Marcus.

Part 1. Gender, Psychoanalysis, and History.

2. Historicizing Weininger: The Nineteenth-Century German Image of the Feminized Jew: Ritchie Robertson.

3. My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber's Secret History of Modernity: Eric Santner.

4. Goyim Naches, or, Modernity and the Manliness of the Mentsh: Daniel Boyarin.

Part II. Literature, Modernism, Antisemitism. .

5. The Woman and the Jew: Sex and Modernity: Jean Radford.

6. Powers of Suggestion: Svengali and the Fin-de-Si├Ęcle: Daniel Pick.

7. 'The Plan Behind the Plan': Russians, Jews, and Mythologies of Change: The Case of Mary Butts: Ian Patterson.

Part III. Modernity, Postmodernity and "the Jew".

8. Allosemitism: Premodern, Modern, Postmodern: Zygmunt Bauman.

9. Habermas: Modernity as Reflection: William Outhwaite.

10. Was Modernity Good for the Jews?: David Feldman.

11. Lyotard and 'the Jews': Geoffrey Bennington.

12. Re-Figuring 'the Jew' in France: Max Silverman.

Section IV. Memory/Memorialization and the Holocaust. .

13. The Arts of Jewish Memory in a Postmodern Age: James Young.

14. Remembering to Forget: Racism and Anti-Racism in Post-War Britain: Tony Kushner.

15. Beginnings of the Day: Fascism and Representation: Gillian Rose.

16. The Victim's Resentments: Nancy Wood.

17. The Ethical Uncertainty of Primo Levi: Byran Cheyette.

18: Afterword. Not Being Inhuman: Paul Gilroy.

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