Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France

By Maurice Samuels | Go to book overview

Notes

Introduction

1. Alphonse Toussenel, Les juifs rois de l'époque: Histoire de la féodalité financière(Paris: L'École Sociétaire, 1845). Zeev Sternhell analyzes the politics of French antisemitism in Neither Right nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, trans. David Maisel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).

2. Édouard Drumont, La France juive: Essai d'histoire contemporaine (Paris: Marpon and Flammarion, 1886). Drumont's two-volume denunciation of the Jewish presence in French political and cultural life sold 65,000 copies in the first year and roughly 100,000 copies by 1914. On Drumont's success, see Élisabeth Parinet, La librairie Flammarion, 1875– 1914 (Paris: Imec, 1992), 256.

3. By assimilation I mean the abandonment of religious and cultural specificity. Acculturation, on the other hand, refers to the adoption of linguistic, cultural, and social norms of the host country without relinquishing some basic but difficult-to-define particular identity.

4. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, pt. 1, Antisemitism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), 117.

5. Arendt, Antisemitism, 118.

6. In Proust: Questions d'identité (Oxford: Legenda, 1998), Julia Kristeva provides a perceptive gloss of Arendt's text and its political subtext: “Beyond the Dreyfus Affair, Hannah Arendt calls attention to the hidden, sociological, religious, and psychological causes that resulted in the extermination camps and the Holocaust. Desired or imposed assimilation … is interpreted as one of the conditions of an unprecedented massacre, and the courageous Zionist return to origins as the only possible way to resist it” (21– 22).

7. My definition of Jewish literature would thus exclude literature by Jews that does not thematize Jewish concerns. It would also exclude literature about Jews by non-Jewish writers. (Of course, what makes a writer Jewish is another question, one that I discuss at some length in the Conclusion.) In her introduction to What Is Jewish Literature? (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1994), Hana Wirth-Nesher points to the problems inherent in attempts to define Jew-

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Inventing the Israelite: Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction: Out of the Archive 1
  • One: Romantic Exoticism 37
  • Two: Between Realism and Idealism 74
  • Three: The Conservative Renegade 112
  • Four: Village Tales 154
  • Five: Ghetto Fiction 193
  • Conclusion: Proust's Progenitors 239
  • Notes 263
  • Index 315
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