Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism by Jonathan Judaken

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By Jonathan Judaken

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish query examines similar to “the Jew” in Sartre’s paintings to reconsider not just his oeuvre but in addition the function of the highbrow in France and the politics and ethics of existentialism. It explores extra generally how French identification is outlined in the course of the abstraction and allegorization of “the Jew” and examines the function anti-antisemitic intellectuals play during this process. Jonathan Judaken reconsiders the origins of the highbrow in France within the context of the Dreyfus affair and Sartre’s interventions within the parallel Franco-French conflicts within the Thirties and through the Vichy regime. He considers what it used to be attainable to assert on behalf of Jews and Judaism in the course of the German career, Sartre’s contribution after the warfare to the Vichy syndrome, his positions at the Arab-Israeli clash, and the methods Sartre’s reflections at the Jewish query served as a template for his shift towards Marxism, his resistance to colonialism, and for the defining of debates approximately Jews and Judaism in postwar France through either Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals. Judaken analyzes the texts that Sartre dedicated to those matters and argues that “the Jew” constituted a foil Sartre regularly referenced in reflecting on politics regularly and at the position of the highbrow specifically. (20070620)

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Extra resources for Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual (Texts and Contexts)

Sample text

The collection was Sartre’s first major published work after Nausea. A comparison of the inserts drawn up by Sartre at the time of publication elucidates the thematic proximity of both works while serving as a useful introduction to the texts. 13 Sartre explains that Nausea is the diary of Antoine Roquentin, an intellectual who has settled in Bouville (Mudtown), the quintessential French provincial bourgeois locale, to write the history of an eighteenth-century adventurer, the marquis de Rollebon.

7 I want to reevaluate this intellectual history by placing Sartre’s work in the moment of the crisis in which it was produced, highlighting how his reflections on the rising tide of antisemitism reveal his political commitments. The analysis of how he represents the figure of “the Jew” in two of his early works of fiction—La nausée (Nausea) and “L’enfance d’un chef” (“The Childhood of a Leader”)—demonstrates that Sartre’s writing in the 1930s already sketched the outlines of his theory of engagement that he developed during and after the war.

They were one thrust of an avant-garde of thinkers, painters, and musicians residing in Paris who amplified the fin-de-siècle modernist cultural revolution through their celebration of fluidity, uncertainty, and the breakdown of form, turning the world of their fathers’ values upside down and making Paris the capital of the modernist aesthetic, evidenced in a torrent of interwar cultural movements: fauvism, cubism, futurism, expressionism, constructivism. Lucien’s existential crisis begins, in fact, while taking the preparatory course for the École centrale, when he meets Berliac, who “scandalizes the whole class” with his avant-garde appearance and his poems, which he creates with the new surrealist technique of “automatic writing” and by imitating the style The Mirror Image and the Politics of Writing 33 of Lautréamont and Rimbaud.

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