Jewish Frontiers: Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities

Sander L. Gilman

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Jewish history has generally been understood as the history of a people displaced from their homeland, and this has played a defining role in how we understand Jewish identity. In this series of interlinked essays, noted critic Sander Gilman suggests that we examine Jewish history from a different starting point. Instead of focusing on “diaspora”, Gilman reimagines Jewish history as the story of people living on a “frontier” — a place where all peoples, including Jews, interacted to define themselves and those they encounter in reality or fantasy. Gilman looks at the representation of Jews and Jewishness in film, literature, and history. He addresses a wide range os questions, including: how has the Holocaust been represented in comic films, from Jakob the Liar to Life Is Beautiful? What do fantasies about the Jewish origin of smoking in Europe, debates about Jewish genetic disease, and literary representations from Proust and Kafka to Zadie Smith tell us about the imagination of Jewish identity?

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