Download Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning by Michael Stanislawski PDF

By Michael Stanislawski

Autobiographical Jews examines the character of autobiographical writing via Jews from antiquity to the current, and the ways that such writings can legitimately be used as assets for Jewish background. Drawing on present literary conception, which questions the very nature of autobiographical writing and its courting to what we usually designate because the fact, and, to a lesser volume, the hot cognitive neurosciences, Michael Stanislawski analyzes a couple of the most important and complicated autobiographical texts written by means of Jews in the course of the ages.

Stanislawski considers The lifestyles by way of first-century historian Josephus; compares the early sleek autobiographies of Asher of Reichshofen (Book of stories) and Glikl of Hameln (Memoirs); analyzes the greatly assorted autobiographies of 2 Russian Jewish writers, the Hebrew Enlightenment writer Moshe Leib Lilienblum and the well-known Russian poet Osip Mandelstam; and appears at autobiographies written out of utter melancholy within the midst and within the wake of global battle II, Stefan Zweig’s the realm of the day before today and Sarah Kofman’s Rue Ordener, Rue Labat.

These writers’ makes an attempt to painting their deepest and public struggles, anxieties, successes, and screw ups are expressions of a simple force for selfhood that is either undying and time-bound, common and culturally particular. The problem is to aim to resolve the wakeful from the subconscious distortions in those texts and to treat them as artifacts of people’ quests to make experience in their lives, firstly for themselves after which, if attainable, for his or her readers.

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Extra info for Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning

Sample text

The specific problem that the huge literature on Josephus’s Vita has focused on is the complex relationship between that work and Wars of the 18 josephus’s life Jews, since these two accounts contradict one another in crucial and fundamental ways. , Josephus’s Life is a short book, eighty-eight small-sized pages in the standard Loeb Classical Library edition. It begins with the author’s genealogy, childhood, youth, and education, continues with a long narrative about his first trip to Rome at the age of twenty-six, and gives a description of the revolutionary situation in Jerusalem upon his return there.

As a pious Jew he knew that vows taken so solemnly cannot be broken. As a somewhat learned Jew he pored through the rabbinic codes to find legal ways to nullify these vows, only to renew them again and again when he strayed back to the gambling dens he found so appallingly irresistible. Similarly, he vowed to abstain from nonkosher wine, which he reports was imbibed by Jews of all types throughout his region, despite the rabbinic prohibition, a reality we know from other sources. 13 This is immediately followed by a recording of an incident about another form of ritual impurity that speaks volumes about the nature and setting of this text, and the life it describes.

Only in the 1960s did the autograph manuscript come to light, and the first real scholarly edition appeared in Hebrew in 1985. A roughly similar fate befell the most famous first extant Yiddish autobiography, Glikl of Hameln’s Zikhroynes. 5 While there is a substantial scholarly literature on Glikl and her Zikhroynes, we are still awaiting the first scholarly edition of the autobiography, being prepared by Chava Turniansky of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Far less known, however, is a remarkable Hebrew autobiography written by an Alsatian Jew, Asher ben Eliezer Ha-levi, whose life was almost contemporaneous with Modena’s and was eerily connected through family ties with Glikl.

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