Storm from Paradise: The Politics of Jewish Memory

Jonathan Boyarin, Author University of Minnesota Press $0 (161p) ISBN 978-0-8166-2094-4
Boyarin ( Polish Jews in Paris ) has crafted seven interlocking essays on the function of memory in contemporary Jewish thought, ranging from an elegant, scholarly evocation of the Orthodox community on the Lower East Side, seen as a palpable embodiment of the dynamics of forgetting, to such seemingly unrelated phenomena as the work of Native American novelist Gerald Vizenor and French Jewish writer Patrick Modiano and, above all, of critic Walter Benjamin. Boyarin's theme is ``Othering,'' the process by which Jews and other perennial outsiders are set apart. Taken individually, the essays are often frustratingly difficult, but the book closes with two brilliant and accessible pieces on the place of Jews in the progressive left and the relationship of Jews and Palestinians, offering a balance of radical politics and insistent Jewish identity that challenges facile political correctness. As he sagely points out, ``the silencing of discourse about Jewish difference'' is accomplished through eliding Jews into the ``Eurocentric white male'' camp and failing to register the reality of Christianity as a dominant (and often oppressive) force in Western history. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-8166-2095-1
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