Loathsome Jews and engulfing women : metaphors of projection in the works of Wyndham Lewis, Charles Williams, and Graham Greene / Andrea Freud Loewenstein
- Literature and psychoanalysis ; 2
Literature and psychoanalysis ; 2.
- New York : New York University Press, c1993
Includes bibliographical references (p. 359-372) and index
Biases held by artists have been a constant source of controversy in appraisals of their works, most recently in critiques of such authors as H. L. Mencken and Paul de Man. Should the belief systems of these thinkers be taken into account in assessing the value of the works which they made public? Andrea Freud Loewenstein here undertakes to address this crucial issue. At the heart of her study is an examination of the figures of Jew and woman in the works of three British male authors written between 1929 and 1945. While instances of misogyny and anti-Semitism were not uncommon in the literature of the period, Loewenstein argues that a hatred and fear of women was often the dominating preoccupation of their work, from which stemmed the intertwined and closely related loathing of Jews. Basing her interpretations on biographical information and on the close analysis of a large body of fiction by each author, Loewenstein reconstructs the psychological system through which each one envisions the world, showing how Jews and women function in their texts, and in each individual psychopathology, as a representation of the Other. Ranging far beyond a narrow study of three authors, Loewenstein situates the works studied in the context of the history of Jews in Britain, concentrating on recent historical scholarship on Britain and the Jews in the 1930s. She questions the widespread belief that the British government was a friend to the Jews and shows, as evident in the double-talk and hypocrisy behind some British governmental policies, that Britain instead actively collaborated in the Jews' destruction. To provide a greater context for her argument, Loewenstein presents a timeline of the history of the Jews in Britain. Firmly grounded in a range of disciplines, Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women is a masterful blend of history, psychology, and literary criticism.
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