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The Figural Jew
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The Figural Jew: Politics and Identity in Postwar French Thought

Sarah Hammerschlag


The rootless Jew, wandering disconnected from history, homeland, and nature, was often the target of early twentieth-century nationalist rhetoric aimed against modern culture. But following World War II, a number of prominent French philosophers recast this maligned figure in positive terms, and in so doing transformed postwar conceptions of politics and identity. This book explores this figure of the Jew from its prewar usage to its resuscitation by Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida. Sartre and Levinas idealized the Jews' rootlessness in order to rethin ... More

Keywords: Jews, Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Levinas, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, group identification, rootlessness, figural Jew, politics, identity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780226315119
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226315133.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sarah Hammerschlag, author