Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew by Jeffrey S. LibrettOrientalism and the Figure of the Jew by Jeffrey S. Librett

Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew

byJeffrey S. Librett

Paperback | November 3, 2014

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Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew proposes a new way of understanding modern Orientalism. Tracing a path of modern Orientalist thought in German across crucial writings from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, Librett argues that Orientalism and anti-Judaism are inextricably entangled.Librett suggests, further, that the Western assertion of "material" power, in terms of which Orientalism is often read, is overdetermined by a "spiritual" weakness: an anxiety about the absence of absolute foundations and values that coincides with Western modernity itself. The modern West, he shows, posits an Oriental origin as a fetish to fill the absent place of lacking foundations. This fetish is appropriated as Western through a quasi-secularized application of Christian typology. Further, the Western appropriation of the "good" Orient always leaves behind the remainder of the "bad," inassimilable Orient.The book traces variations on this theme through historicist and idealist texts of the nineteenth century and then shows how high modernists like Buber, Kafka, Mann, and Freud place this historicist narrative in question. The book concludes with the outlines of a cultural historiography that would distance itself from the metaphysics of historicism, confronting instead its underlying anxieties.
Jeffrey S. Librett is Professor of German at the University of Oregon.
Title:Orientalism and the Figure of the JewFormat:PaperbackDimensions:376 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.03 inPublished:November 3, 2014Publisher:Fordham University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0823262928

ISBN - 13:9780823262922


Editorial Reviews

"This magisterially researched and probingly argued study opens a completely new and potentially groundbreaking perspective on Orientalism. In impeccably executed detail, it demonstrates that what has long been seen as a binary opposition between East and West has in fact relied since its inception on a triangular dynamic between three shifting poles: not simply Occident vs. Orient, but the Occident, the Orient, and the Jew. Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew will be of interest to a wide range of scholars."