Jewishness and Masculinity from the Modern to the Postmodern

By Neil R. Davison

© 2010 – Routledge

262 pages

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Paperback: 9781138878495
pub: 2015-04-23
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Hardback: 9780415875868
pub: 2010-06-24
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About the Book

This study examines the impact of racial, gender, and religious constructs of Jewish masculinity on a select group of male writers including George Du Maurier, Theodor Herzl, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Philip Roth during the Modernist and Postmodern eras. In reading the work of these authors, Davison demonstrates how religious-based prejudices as well as doctrinal Judaic concepts were sustained in the discourse of race and gender surrounding "the Jew." The project engages a dynamic composed of the historically constitutive Jewish racial portrait, the psychosexual impact of that racial theory as internalized by Jewish males, and differing or conflicting discussions of Judaic-based gender and codes of male behavior. By focusing alternately on non-Jewish and Jewish writers, Davison explores how the racial/gender construct of "the feminized Jew" was pivotal to each in negotiating male-selfhood during his encounter with modernity. The study engages these issues during the Dreyfus era, within early Zionism, and in post-war High Modernism. In a final chapter on Roth, Davison explores how the author’s postmodernism remains tethered to Jewish history, liberalism, gender, and Judaic concepts.

Reviews

"Davison…clearly and thoroughly engages with the interrelation of race, gender, politics, and religion as they construct the modern Jewish man…Davison’s work thoroughly illustrated the ambiguities and difficulties that surround ad gendered constructions of "the Jew." – Maggie McKinley, Harper College, Philip Roth Studies

"Neil Davison’s study of the ways Jewish masculinity has been represented in some key late-nineteenth and twentieth century texts situates the gendering of the Jewish male body against the background of the Zionist movement in successive historical phases." –Robert A. Nye, Oregon State University, Gender and History

"Perceptive and stimulating…a fine book that brings together so much useful material, offers so much textual and cultural insight, and raises questions that have not been asked comprehensively, and in one place, before." –Debra Shostak, The College of Wooster, James Joyce Quarterly

"Neil Davison’s Jewishness and Masculinity from the Modern to the Postmodern offers a well-researched and most welcome contribution to the study of these and other Jewish masculinities…One of the book’s main contributions is to broaden the discussion of Jewish masculinities while also placing it in historical context." –Brett Ashley Kaplan, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Textual Practice

"Ambitious and erudite" – Efraim Sicher, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Partial Answers

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 1: "The Jew" as Homme/Femme Fatale: Jewish (Art)ifice, Trilby, and Drefyus 2: Emancipation to Die Muskeljüden: Zionism, Masculinity, and the Liberated Jewish Body 3: The Feminized Jewish Pugilist: Racial Ambivalence and Weak Muscle-Jews 4: Gendered-Jewishness in Ulysses: Bloom as Semi-queer Jew 5: From Klugman to Pipik: Philip Roth and Postcolonial/Postmodern Old-New Jewish Gender Coda Notes Index

About the Author

Neil R. Davison is Associate Professor of Modernism, Irish Studies, and Jewish Cultural Studies in the Department of English at Oregon State University. He is the author of James Joyce, Ulysses, and the Construction of Jewish Identity (Cambridge, 1996)

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature

From Joyce to Rushdie, Modernism to Food Writing, Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Literature looks at both the literature and culture of the 20th century. This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering literature alongside religion, popular culture, race, gender, ecology, travel, class, space, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT004210
LITERARY CRITICISM / Jewish
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOC049000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Jewish Studies