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Inventing the IsraeliteJewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century France$
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Maurice Samuels

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763844

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763844.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

Introduction: Out of the Archive

Introduction: Out of the Archive

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Out of the Archive
Source:
Inventing the Israelite
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804763844.003.0001

Political critics have accused nineteenth-century French Jews of being misguided about assimilation. In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argues that the nineteenth-century French Jews failed to meet the challenge of the Dreyfus affair and their true status as pariahs. These claims imply that the French Jews were deluded people who were unable to act in politically responsible ways, resulting in the Auschwitz destruction. Meanwhile, historians of French Jewish literature such as Armand Lunel (1892–1977) have refused to acknowledge that Jews wrote fiction in French before 1900. This book explores the forgotten tradition of nineteenth-century French Jewish fiction and interprets it in relation to both Jewish and French history, offering a critical analysis of the novels and short stories written in the period 1830–1870 by the first generation of Jews born as French citizens. This introduction provides a background on the history of Jews in modern France, focusing on the French Revolution, and examines the relevance of their history to French historiography.

Keywords:   France, French Jews, Jewish literature, fiction, French history, French Revolution, Hannah Arendt, assimilation, Armand Lunel, short stories

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