The Imaginary Jew


The Imaginary Jew

Alain Finkielkraut
Translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff

Texts and Contexts Series

201 pages
Introduction, notes, index


April 1997


$13.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The Holocaust changed what it means to be a Jew, for Jew and non-Jew alike. Much of the discussion about this new meaning is a storm of contradictions. In The Imaginary Jew, Alain Finkielkraut describes with passion and acuity his own passage through that storm.

Finkielkraut decodes the shifts in anti-Semitism at the end of the Cold War, chronicles the impact of Israel’s policies on European Jews, opposes arguments both for and against cultural assimilation, reopens questions about Marx and Judaism, and marks the loss of European Jewish culture through catastrophe, ignorance, and cliché. He notes that those who identified with Israel continued the erasure of European Judaism, forgetting the pangs and glories of Yiddish culture and the legacy of the Diaspora.

Author Bio

Born in Paris in 1949, Alain Finkielkraut is the author of eight books, including The Wisdom of Love (Nebraska 1997). Kevin O’Neill is an associate professor of French at the University of Colorado, Denver. David Suchoff, an associate professor of English at Colby College, is the author of Critical Theory and the Novel: Mass Society and Cultural Criticism in Dickens, Melville and Kafka.


“The Imaginary Jew is brilliant and rueful and bitter at the same time. It shows the joint influence of Sartre and Philip Roth—a combination that only Alain Finkielkraut could bring off.”—New Yorker

“Finkielkraut’s profoundly personal account of his struggle with Jewish identity is entertaining, witty and . . . unquestionably insightful.”—Jewish Chronicle

“Finkielkraut is exciting to read; good to think with. He delivers sharp and smart prose. . . . [A] most compelling book.”—Voice Literary Supplement

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