The Jewish Decadence: Jews and the Aesthetics of Modernity combines the two interests that Jonathan Freedman has pursued across his influential career: the aestheticism and decadence of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the cultural history of the Jews, especially in interactions with non-Jewish culture, in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.1 In doing so, it tells us something apparently simple but absolutely essential about “decadence,” that evocative if imprecise term both for the critical diagnosis of cultural decay and for the loving engagement or enactment of that decay by artists, novelists, poets, and musicians across the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth. In chapters on Oscar Wilde's many Jewish supporters; on the obsession with Salome triggered by Wilde's play and by Richard Strauss's opera and the Jewish actresses it swept into its wake; on Jewishness and queerness troping one another in Proust's Recherche; on Schopenhauer's...
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Book Review| December 01 2022
The Jewish Decadence: Jews and the Aesthetics of Modernity
The Jewish Decadence: Jews and the Aesthetics of Modernity,
University of Chicago Press,
Genre (2022) 55 (3): 271–275.
Len Gutkin; The Jewish Decadence: Jews and the Aesthetics of Modernity. Genre 1 December 2022; 55 (3): 271–275. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-10146804
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