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The Imaginary Jew (Texts and Contexts) Paperback – April 1, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Finkielkraut, one of France's most respected left-wing Jewish intellectuals, originally penned this "autobiographical work of cultural criticism" in 1980 as a meditation on Judaism, modernity, and his own tortuous path through life as an "imaginary Jew," living off a borrowed identity, to a newfound commitment to Jewish memory. Readers of this fine translation may wish that parts of the book had been updated or that a more helpful introduction had been supplied. The volume nevertheless remains valuable not only as a period piece but for its many insights on subjects that range from the contemporary condition of French Jewry to the ongoing significance of Jewish memory. For specialized university libraries.
Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this brilliant commentary on assertions of ethnic identity in the post-Holocaust era, French critic Finkielkraut's primary thesis is that memory of Jewish life before World War II has become so laden with nostalgia that the complexities of the past are no longer considered; as a glaring example of nostalgia overcoming complex reality, Finkielkraut cites the TV series Holocaust (a recent event in Europe when this book was originally published in 1980). Writing in powerful self-examination, Finkielkraut, a postmodern Jew, wonders whether he and his contemporaries now have any actual connections to the realities of the ghettos and shtetls. Another issue he raises is the historic split between Jews who feel the need to assimilate and those who outwardly express their differences from Gentile society. Still another is the connection between much of the anti-Zionism of Finkielkraut's former associates of the Left and prewar anti-Semitism. Although Finkielkraut sets his arguments within the cultural-political context of France, the issues he considers are international, relevant to any heterogeneous society. Aaron Cohen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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