Journalismus als Beruf : truth and the anti-Semitic journalist stereotype in the writings of Maxim Biller and Rafael Seligmann / by Robert Anthony Feldman
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This dissertation addresses the incorporation of the anti-Semitic journalist stereotype by the German-Jewish authors and journalists Rafael Seligmann and Maxim Biller. I commence this undertaking by outlining the historical development of the stereotype from 1830 to 1945, uncovering assertions that Jewish journalists are polemical and financially ruthless mercenaries who would destroy German culture through anti-intellectual realism. By contending that these slanders did exist, this opening introduces the relevance of truth to the subsequent discussions of contemporary literature.Subsequent chapters analyze the two writers' integration of these historical insights into their works, a line of inquiry that challenges the stereotypical public personae they have obtained. On the whole, the authors' use of the past aims to illustrate a continuity of prejudice that corresponds to the abandonment of truth. My initial Biller chapter discusses "Harlem Holocaust," examining its use of an allegorized German nation to articulate the old stereotypes; this reveals that the Jewish protagonist, who closely resembles the public Biller, does not necessarily correspond to that image. Moreover, the relativist staging of this act of viewing shows Biller's use of realism to be epistemic and moral rather than literary. The next chapter continues this line, exploring Biller's realism as a mechanism for assuming the anti-Semitic image into his public persona. I culminate this chapter by examining Esra and its reception by detailing how its structure corresponds to his definition of Schlappschwanzliteratur, how it succeeded in eliciting a reception that rhetorically resembled earlier stereotypes, and how the anti-defamation lawsuit Biller lost two months ago was therefore misguided. My final chapter, on Seligmann, considers his novel Der Musterjude within the context of the business demands of contemporary journalism; he proclaims that the pressure to conform to perceived audience preferences led to a turning away from truth that transformed his semi-autobiographical protagonist into the "model Jew." This figure mollifies German guilt while replicating earlier Nazi viewpoints.Taken as a whole, this work questions the effectiveness of German Vergangenheitsbewältigung, the assertions of those who proclaim Jewish authors to be profiteering from German guilt, and the field's tendency to overlook the years preceding Hitler.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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