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The Jewish Family in Antiquity by Shaye J. D. Cohen

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By Shaye J. D. Cohen

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15 Charcot, the Paris physician and theorist of hysteria after whom Freud was to name his eldest son, drew attention to “the especially marked predisposition of the Jewish race for hysteria”16 and other kinds of mental illness— due, he thought, to inbreeding. 17 Here, too, was a model against which Freud was anxious to define himself; he would be like the French doctor, whom he so much admired, not the (female or Jewish) patients. As for Gilman, she would have found in Weininger’s book an entire chapter of praise for “Emanicipated Women,” with specific mention of Sappho, George Sand, Madame de Staël, George Eliot, and Rosa Bonheur, among others, as individuals who had transcended their debilitating condition of womanhood: “the degree of emancipation and the proportion of maleness in the composition of a woman are practically identical,” he wrote.

In part by the crossing of the dandy and the aesthete—in Proust; in Nightwood’s Baron Felix Volkbein (“still spatted, still wearing his cutaway,” moving “with a humble hysteria among the decaying brocades and laces of the Carnavalet” [9, 11]); in Radclyffe Hall’s figure of the artist Adolphe Blanc, who designed ballets and ladies’ gowns for a living, a homosexual and a “gentle and learned Jew” (The Well of Loneliness, 352)—with the Hasid. The traditional long gown (Shylock’s “Jewish gaberdine”) and uncut hair, the lively gesticulation (and wild, ecstatic dancing) of the Hasidic sect—all these could be regarded as woman-like or “feminine,” as well as simply foreign or alien.

Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989. Davidson, Arnold. , Forms of Desire: Sexual Orientation and the Social Constructionist Controversy, 89–132. New York: Routledge, 1992. D’Emilio, John. ” In Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David M. , The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, 467–76. New York: Routledge, 1993. Duggan, Lisa. Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Violence, and American Modernity. : Duke University Press, 2000. Ellis, Havelock. Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vol. ” New York: Random House, 1936.

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