This essay calls for a theoretical discussion of the aesthetics and politics of comparison in contemporary German Jewish literature and beyond. It describes the tendency of recent German Jewish writers and thinkers to compare and connect the experiences of Jews to those of other minoritized groups. The essay briefly discusses several theoretical paradigms that spell out the political stakes of such comparisons, including touching tales (Leslie Adelson) and multidirectional memory (Michael Rothberg). It then draws attention to another modality of comparison that is particularly promising because of its purposive abstractness and its relevance for literary texts: similarity. Finally, the essay offers two examples of the productive use of similarity in recent German Jewish literature: Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (which connects different instances of historical trauma) and Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Außer sich (which weaves the experience of a Syrian refugee in Istanbul into a web of similar migratory movements).
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Research Article| November 01 2023
On Similarity in Contemporary German Jewish Literature
New German Critique (2023) 50 (3 (150)): 81–92.
Katja Garloff; On Similarity in Contemporary German Jewish Literature. New German Critique 1 November 2023; 50 (3 (150)): 81–92. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-10708321
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