Download Rewriting the Jew : Assimilation Narratives in the Russian by Gabriella Safran PDF

By Gabriella Safran

In the Russian Empire of the 1870s and Eighties, whereas intellectuals and politicians furiously debated the "Jewish Question," progressively more acculturating Jews, who dressed, spoke, and behaved like non-Jews, seemed in genuine existence and in literature. This ebook examines tales approximately Jewish assimilation by means of 4 authors: Grigory Bogrov, a Russian Jew; Eliza Orzeszkowa, a Polish Catholic; and Nikolai Leskov and Anton Chekhov, either jap Orthodox Russians. Safran introduces the English-language reader to works that have been a lot mentioned of their personal time, and she or he situates Jewish and non-Jewish writers jointly within the context they shared.

For nineteenth-century writers and readers, winning fictional characters have been "types," literary creations that either reflected and stimulated the trajectories of actual lives. tales approximately Jewish assimilators and converts frequently juxtaposed contrasting forms: the honest reformer or precise convert who has skilled a whole transformation, and the key recidivist or fake convert whose actual loyalties won't ever switch. As Safran exhibits, writers borrowed those varieties from many assets, together with the radical of schooling produced via the Jewish enlightenment circulate (the Haskalah), the political rhetoric of "Positivist" Polish nationalism, the Bible, Shakespeare, and Slavic folks beliefs.

Rewriting the Jew casts new mild at the thought of kind itself and at the query of even if literature can transfigure readers. The vintage tale of Jewish assimilation describes readers who redecorate themselves after the version of fictional characters in secular texts. The writers studied right here, notwithstanding, learn makes an attempt at Jewish self-transformation whereas brooding about concerning the reformability of character. In taking a look at their works, Safran relates the trendy japanese ecu Jewish event to a primary query of aesthetics: Can artwork switch us?

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16 Bogrov coined his expression as a play on the Russian “kvasnoi patriot” [kvas patriot]. Kvas is a mildly alcoholic, typically Russian drink, and the phrase refers to a jingoist, one whose patriotism is no more reasoned or sophisticated than his fondness for an intoxicating national drink. 17 Nonetheless, many other Russian Jewish readers agreed with the reviewer from Den’. ”19 He criticized Bogrov specifically, though, for the opposite reason: Bogrov’s hostility toward his subject. “It is not at all that objective calm that is one of the most important virtues of every artistic work; it is, precisely, a kind of coldness, as though the author .

62 The memoirs of Russifying Jewish intellectuals attest to the possibility of this scene; they felt that they had bettered themselves precisely in accordance with the model they had found in Pisarev’s and Chernyshevsky’s writings. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, an early Zionist who helped revive Hebrew as a spoken language, agreed on Chernyshevsky’s What Is to Be Done? as a model for the new Jewish literature. 64 22 INTRODUCTION Non-Jewish writers too described the transformation of the Jew by means of literature, as exemplified by Raisa/Rebecca, the heroine of Rostislav Sementkovsky’s  novella Evrei i zhidy [Jews and Yids].

The campaign intensified as the nineteenth century wore on. 41 It may have been under the influence of this opinion that the tsarist government eventually seemed to suggest that some minorities were unassimilable when it permitted members of certain groups, such as the Jews, to emigrate. 42 Because disagreements over the cultural and legal place of the Jews made reference to larger disputes about whether Russian citizenship should be redesigned according to Western models, examination of the changing treatment of the Jews opens a window on the interplay between changing notions of imperial subjecthood and citizenship as well as of the individual’s possible personal, religious, and political affiliations.

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