Jewish Anxiety and the Novels of Philip Roth argues that Roth's novels teach us that Jewish anxiety stems not only from fear of victimization but also from fear of perpetration. It is impossible to think about Jewish victimization without thinking about the Holocaust; and it is impossible to think about the taboo question of Jewish perpetration without thinking about Israel. Roth's texts explore the Israel-Palestine question and the Holocaust with varying degrees of intensity but all his novels scrutinize perpetration and victimization through examining racism and sexism in America. Brett Ashley Kaplan uses Roth's novels as springboards to illuminate larger problems of victimization and perpetration; masculinity, femininity, and gender; racism and anti-Semitism. For if, as Kaplan argues, Jewish anxiety is not only about the fear of oppression, and we can begin to see how these anxieties function in terms of fears of perpetration, then perhaps we can begin to unpack the complicated dynamics around the line between the Holocaust and Israel-Palestine.
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About the Author
Brett Ashley Kaplan is Professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Program in Comparative and World Literature and the Program in Jewish Culture and Society at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.
Table of ContentsAcknowledgements
Chapter One: Jewish Anxiety: “Goodbye Columbus,” “Eli, The Fanatic,” and Portnoy's Complaint
Chapter Two: Spectres of Roth: The Ghost Writer, Exit Ghost, and Zuckerman Unbound
Chapter Three: Double-Consciousness and the Jewish Heart of Darkness: The Counterlife and Operation Shylock
Chapter Four: The American Berserk: Sabbath's Theater and American Pastoral
Chapter Five: Playing it Any Way You Like: The Human Stain
Chapter Six: Counterfactual Terror: The Plot Against America
Conclusion: What we talk about when we talk about Anne Frank