Through an analysis of representations of Jewish artists in the works of German-Jewish writers, this book reveals that the issue of a Jewish creative identity was one of the most explosive aspects of a dual German-Jewish identity. In the shadow of both a widespread anti-Semitic stereotype which denied creativity to Jews and also of increasingly contentious debates in Jewish circles on the proper role of Jewish artists within German culture, German-Jewish writers who portrayed Jewish artists in their works were forced to grapple with some of the most contentious questions of their day: the relative importance of German and Jewish allegiance; the issue of Jewish distinctiveness or its opposite expressed in style, language, and theme; and the viability of a -Jewish- participation in German culture. Existing studies sometimes posit Jewish self-hatred or blind attachment to German culture and Enlightenment ideals as characteristic of a broad spectrum of German-Jewish writers. In contrast, this book demonstrates how many German-Jewish writers possessed a profound awareness of cultural conditions and a conscientious desire to integrate the complex demands of a dual identity.
The Author: Helen Ferstenberg did her undergraduate studies in French and German at Lancaster University and earned a masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University. Subsequently she studied and taught at Yale University where she received her Ph.D. in German Literature in 2002.
Verlag Peter Lang
Date of Publication
North American Studies in Nineteenth-century German Literature and Culture