French and Jewish

Culture and the Politics of Identity in Early-Twentieth Century France

Nadia Malinovich

£18.95
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ISBN: 9781906764258

Publication: December 8, 2011

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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This study of Jewish cultural innovation in early twentieth-century France highlights the complexity and ambivalence of Jewish identity and self-definition in the modern world. Following the Dreyfus affair, French Jews increasingly began to question how Jewishness should be defined in a society where Jews enjoyed full political equality. Writers who had previously not given voice to their Jewish origins began to explore biblical themes, traditional Jewish folklore, and issues of identity and assimilation. A plethora of new journals focusing on Jewish religion, history, and culture came into being, as did a multitude of associations-literary societies, youth groups, religious organizations-that emphasized Jewish distinctiveness Nadia Malinovich explores this blossoming of Jewish cultural life in France, often described by contemporaries as a Jewish 'renaissance' or 'awakening'. Describing and analysing the emergence of new forms of Jewish associational life, she shows that the interface between the various groups was as important as the differences between them: it was the process of debate and dialogue that infused new energy into French Jewish identity and culture. She similarly analyses the Jewish press and literature to develop a typology of themes, providing a panoramic view of how Jewish identity and culture were discussed and debated among Jews and non-Jews of varying ideological, cultural, and political orientations. Her analysis also provides a vantage point from which to explore the complex ways in which French national identity was re-negotiated in the early twentieth century. During this period, French Jews in effect reshaped the category of Frenchness itself, and in so doing created new possibilities for being both French and Jewish. This is a stimulating and original book that makes a major contribution to our understanding of modern Jewish history as well as to the history of the Jews in France and to the larger discourse about Jewish identities in the modern world.

Nadia Malinovich is Associate Professor of American Studies at the Université de Picardie–Jules Vernes and also teaches modern Jewish history at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences-Po) in Paris. She completed a Ph.D. in history at the University of Michigan and subsequently held a Dorot Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University.

Note on Transliteration and Conventions Used in the Text Introduction 1 Setting the Stage: Jewish Identity in the Nineteenth Century and the Impact of the Dreyfus Affair 2 The Beginnings of a French Jewish Literature 3 Between Religion and Ethnicity: Zionism and Reform Judaism before the First World War 4 The First World War and the Shifting Landscape of French Jewry 5 Enlivening the Public Sphere: Jewish Sociability in the 1920s 6 Press Culture, Art, Music, the Inter-Faith Movement, and Debates on the Significance of the Renaissance Itself 7 Jewish Literature in France, 1920 - 1932 8 Reshaping Franco-Judaism, 1920 - 1932 Conclusion Bibliography Index

ENDORSEMENTS 'Well written, thoroughly researched, and engaging ... It is the first systematic consideration of what the renaissance of French Jewish culture actually was, and the combination of social history and cultural studies is deftly handled; this is not just a study of elites and their ideas. The approach to the cultural influence of Zionism is particularly nuanced, and the case for the development in this period of an openly ethnic component to French Jewish identity is effectively argued ... contributes to French as well as French Jewish history while also consciously participating in a larger discourse about Jewish identity in the modern world.' Paula E. Hyman, Yale University
 

'Illuminating ... well researched, persuasively argued, and thought-provoking. Scholars of the Jews of France and of modern Jewish history more broadly should read it with great interest for years to come.' Ethan Katz, H-Judaic

'Does much to right a wrong-headed view of French Jewry as a community always under siege.' Mitchell Abidor, Jewish Currents

'Rich discussion of Zionist, religious, and other cultural formulations.' Sanford Gutman, Shofar

 'Insightful ... thoughtful ... Perhaps future works, building on the literature that Malinovich has significantly enriched will be in a position to address the Jewish renaissance of the interwar years from a wider transnational perspective.' Ari Joskowicz, Studies in Contemporary Jewry

'An important contribution . . . In terms of research Malinovich has brought together a large body of material and displays impressive, intimate knowledge of both literary and organizational sources. She also does an admirable job of tying these sources to the larger context of Jewish and French history . . . Nadia Malinovich has provided vital information to scholars wishing to trace the development and boundaries of Jewish identity in France. By illuminating a period that has escaped recent scholarly attention, she enhances our ability to understand the broader contours of French Jewish Society.'   Jeffrey Haus, H-French


'Well written, thoroughly researched, and engaging ... It is the first systematic consideration of what the renaissance of French Jewish culture actually was, and the combination of social history and cultural studies is deftly handled; this is not just a study of elites and their ideas. The approach to the cultural influence of Zionism is particularly nuanced, and the case for the development in this period of an openly ethnic component to French Jewish identity is effectively argued ... contributes to French as well as French Jewish history while also consciously participating in a larger discourse about Jewish identity in the modern world.' Paula E. Hyman, Yale University
 

Format: Paperback

Edition: New edition

Size: 234 x 156 x 15 mm

294 Pages

B&W illustrations

ISBN: 9781906764258

Publication: December 8, 2011

Series: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

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