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Potomac Books


Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question, Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question, 0803226128, 0-8032-2612-8, 978-0-8032-2612-8, 9780803226128, Jonathan Judaken, Texts and Contexts, Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question, 0803205635, 0-8032-0563-5, 978-0-8032-0563-5, 9780803205635, Jonathan Judaken, Texts and Contexts, Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question, 0803224893, 0-8032-2489-3, 978-0-8032-2489-6, 9780803224896, Jonathan Judaken, Texts and Context

Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question
Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual
Jonathan Judaken

2007. 394 pp.
$29.95 s
Out of Print
2009. 408 pp.
$29.95 s

Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question examines the image of “the Jew” in Sartre’s work to rethink not only his oeuvre but also the role of the intellectual in France and the politics and ethics of existentialism. It explores more broadly how French identity is defined through the abstraction and allegorization of “the Jew” and examines the role anti-antisemitic intellectuals play in this process.
Jonathan Judaken reconsiders the origins of the intellectual in France in the context of the Dreyfus affair and Sartre’s interventions in the parallel Franco-French conflicts in the 1930s and during the Vichy regime. He considers what it was possible to say on behalf of Jews and Judaism during the German occupation, Sartre’s contribution after the war to the Vichy syndrome, his positions on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the ways Sartre’s reflections on the Jewish Question served as a template for his shift toward Marxism, his resistance to colonialism, and for the defining of debates about Jews and Judaism in postwar France by both Jewish and non-Jewish intellectuals. Judaken analyzes the texts that Sartre devoted to these issues and argues that “the Jew” constituted a foil Sartre consistently referenced in reflecting on politics in general and on the role of the intellectual in particular.

Jonathan Judaken is an associate professor of modern European cultural and intellectual history at the University of Memphis.

“Judaken brings together for the first time Sartre’s thoughts, theories, and references to European Jews from his literature, philosophy, essays, and conversations. . . . This excellent commentary is a major contribution to the huge literature on this famous existentialist. . . . This book is as much about antisemitism as it is about Sartre, and will be useful to students of French intellectual history, too.”—Choice

“A very useful book, [Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question] traces the writing of Sartre in the context of a literary life both complex and obscure, though also famous. . . . This large and large-hearted new book includes posthumous evaluations of Sartre by the many French Jewish intellectuals who followed in his wake.”—Arnold J. Wolf, Central Conference of American Rabbis Newsletter

"A well-developed and impressively knowledgeable study. . . . Judaken’s book helps us to understand the secret of Sartre’s stubborn refusal to fade into the past, by showing this ultimate insider choosing to identify with and powerfully analyse the plight of the marginalized and oppressed—Jews, blacks, homosexuals, workers, colonial peoples, and women—as did no other thinker of his century."—Ron Aronson, Times Literary Supplement

“In [Judaken’s] refusal to relegate Sartre to the ivory tower, and in his undisguised admiration for his courage to live out the messy ambiguities of his constantly evolving project, Judaken provides an essential portrait of the man who practiced the engagement that he preached.”—Holocaust and Genocide Studies

"Jonathan Judaken's study of Jean-Paul Sartre and the Jewish Question stakes a claim to new scholarly territory. . . . This is a book that indeed scandalizes, in that it takes interpretive risks, and as promised, uncovers a "fecund site" for further discussion and debate."—Richard F. Crane, H-Net

"By taking the 'Jewish question' as his leitmotif, Judaken has produced a work that convincingly establishes its significance to the whole of Sartre's oeuvre and indeed to his life as a committee intellectual."—David Drake, Patterns of Prejudice

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