Bambi's Jewish Roots and Other Essays on German-Jewish Culture

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/18/2015
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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German Jewry. Among other things-or rather, above all-the term evokes creativity and destruction. This book is about both sides of that dichotomy, and also the links between them. It is about the German Jews-e.g., Heine, Freud, and Kafka-whose accomplishments have played such a significant role in shaping our modern sensibilities. And it is about the figures and forces-e.g., Hitler, Jew hatred, and racism-that effectively wiped out the Jewish presence in Germany. The book is, as well, about how the pressures generated by anti-Semitism and the experience of exile helped at a terrible price to drive German Jewry to its intellectual successes. Finally, Reitter reflects on attempts to tell the stories of these makers and destroyers, and the cultural dynamics in which they were enmeshed. Indeed, in large part that, too, is the subject of this study-the act of writing about the life and the demise of German Jewry.

Author Biography

Paul Reitter is Associate Professor in German Languages and Literatures at Ohio State University, USA. He is the author of The Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siecle Europe (2008), which was named in The Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2008. He has contributed essays and reviews to Harper's Magazine and The Nation.

Table of Contents

Introduction: German-Jewish Culture as a Mirror of Modernity I. German Jews 1. Beyond Assimilation 2. Local Flavors II. Self-Reflections 3. Total Polemic 4. Fear and Self-Loathing in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 5. Irrational Man: Gershom Scholem's Decisive Years III. Biographing Genius 6. Kafka's New Life 7. The Wittgensteins' House of Pain IV. Beyond the Canon 8. The High Stakes of Middlebrow Literature 9. Theodor Lessing and the Art of Writing Popular Psychology for German JewsIV. Creativity and Destruction 10. Hofmannsthal's Austria 11. Ranter's Paradise 12. Becoming Hitler 13. Re-Reading Freud's Moses (Again) 14. Auerbach in Exile 15. On the Genealogy of German Racism 16. Holocaust Imponderables Epilogue

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