The Translated Jew

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ISBN 978-0-8101-3763-9
Publication Date
September 2018
Page Count
248 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

The Translated Jew

German Jewish Culture outside the Margins
Leslie Morris

The Translated Jew brings together an eclectic set of literary and visual texts to reimagine the transnational potential for German Jewish culture in the twenty-first century. Departing from scholarship that has located the German Jewish text as an object that can be defined geographically and historically, Leslie Morris challenges national literary historiography and redraws the maps by which transnational Jewish culture and identity must be read.

Morris explores the myriad acts of translation, actual and metaphorical, through which Jewishness leaves its traces, taking as a given the always provisional nature of Jewish text and Jewish language. Although the focus is on contemporary German Jewish literary cultures, The Translated Jew also turns its attention to a number of key visual and architectural projects by American, British, and French artists and writers, including W. G. Sebald, Anne Blonstein, Hélène Cixous, Ulrike Mohr, Daniel Blaufuks, Paul Celan, Raymond Federman, and Rose Ausländer.

In thus realigning German Jewish culture with European and American Jewish culture and post-Holocaust aesthetics, this book explores the circulation of Jewishness between the United States and Europe. The insistence on the polylingualism of any single language and the multidirectionality of Jewishness are at the very center of The Translated Jew.
About the Author

LESLIE MORRIS is a professor of German and the director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University  of Minnesota.

"The Translated Jew is an innovative and imaginative book that takes as its goal an ambitious project to expand the limits of what we in the academy regard as 'Jewish text.' Morris weaves together rigorous analyses of an extremely wide range of postwar Jewish texts to stage a powerful theoretical invention in contemporary debates about what constitutes Jewish literature, and how we should study it today." —Jonathan M. Hess, author of Deborah and Her Sisters: How One Nineteenth-Century Melodrama and a Host of Celebrates Actresses Put Judaism on the World Stage

"This is a sophisticated but also readable account of the complexities of a ‘Jewish’ cultural identity in a world in which being Jewish is layered and conflicted, where it is determined by historical and geographic localization, but is also assumed simultaneously to be global and transcultural." —Sander Gilman, author of Are Racists Crazy? How Prejudice, Racism, and Antisemitism Became Markers of Insanity 

“This book is essential to any scholar in the humanities, and especially those in Jewish studies, literary studies, cultural studies, and global studies. It is lucidly written and thoroughly readable, free of jargon, and should be used for advanced undergraduate as well as graduate-level teaching. Circling around the nexus of Holocaust memory and writing after Auschwitz, and making it both a visible and an eclipsed center of translation, The Translated Jew draws us into considering Jewish writing post Holocaust from 'outside the margins,' and that includes the margins of our own identity, or previous considerations. Therefore, Morris’s study provides a new direction in German Jewish studies and in the study of Holocaust memory.” —Agnes C. Mueller, coeditor of German Jewish Literature after 1990

"In this fascinating and far-reaching study, Leslie Morris interrogates and at times overturns widely held assumptions about post-Holocaust German Jewish culture: about its diasporic character, its thematic focus on the Holocaust, and the Jewish identity of its authors and artists. Drawing on examples from hermetic poems to digital media to tattoo art, Morris is able to show how the signifier 'Jewish' accrues new meanings over a wide range of cultural artifacts, practices, and subjectivities . . . Her study, which profoundly expands our sense of what constitutes Jewish literature, is essential reading for anyone interested in Jewish studies, German studies, and any combination thereof." —Katja Garloff, German Studies Review