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Reconsidering Anti-Semitism and White Slavery in Contemporary Historical Fiction about Argentina

Reconsidering Anti-Semitism and White Slavery in Contemporary Historical Fiction about Argentina Abstract In Argentina, a multimedia boom in historical fictions about the so-called Jewish White Slave Trade of the early twentieth century in Buenos Aires has created a consensus about a particular set of events that deviates in consistent ways from the available evidence. In this essay I show how the literary consensus about the history of white slavery emerges as a consistent set of narrative tropes; then I discuss how in several contemporary historical novels the admixture of history and fiction seems to allow anti-Semitism to be both omnipresent and depoliticized — simultaneously minimized in Argentine political history and dramatized as the hobby of eccentric fictional sociopaths. Furthermore, Jews are split into “good” and “bad” elements, with the unmanageable part cast out through collaboration between “good” Jews and gentiles so as to consolidate a Jewish-Argentine identity. I then consider how the portrayal of anti-Semitism in the novels resonates with cultural debates about historical anti-Semitism — particularly the contested anti-Semitism of the right-wing dictatorship that governed Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Specifically, I suggest that the “splitting” of Jews that occurs in these novels, together with the view that anti-Semitism only exists “outside” the state, make possible the mutual legitimization of a continuous Jewish-Argentine subject and a continuous Argentine state. Finally, I show how contemporary literature, by breaking radically with both the cultural consensus about white slavery and its univocal narrative of anti-Semitism, can actually help to theorize a different affective relationship to history. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335763 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 307-327 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Solomon, C. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Reconsidering Anti-Semitism and White Slavery in Contemporary Historical Fiction about Argentina

Comparative Literature , Volume 63 (3) – Jun 20, 2011

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Duke Univ Press
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-1335763
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Abstract

Abstract In Argentina, a multimedia boom in historical fictions about the so-called Jewish White Slave Trade of the early twentieth century in Buenos Aires has created a consensus about a particular set of events that deviates in consistent ways from the available evidence. In this essay I show how the literary consensus about the history of white slavery emerges as a consistent set of narrative tropes; then I discuss how in several contemporary historical novels the admixture of history and fiction seems to allow anti-Semitism to be both omnipresent and depoliticized — simultaneously minimized in Argentine political history and dramatized as the hobby of eccentric fictional sociopaths. Furthermore, Jews are split into “good” and “bad” elements, with the unmanageable part cast out through collaboration between “good” Jews and gentiles so as to consolidate a Jewish-Argentine identity. I then consider how the portrayal of anti-Semitism in the novels resonates with cultural debates about historical anti-Semitism — particularly the contested anti-Semitism of the right-wing dictatorship that governed Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Specifically, I suggest that the “splitting” of Jews that occurs in these novels, together with the view that anti-Semitism only exists “outside” the state, make possible the mutual legitimization of a continuous Jewish-Argentine subject and a continuous Argentine state. Finally, I show how contemporary literature, by breaking radically with both the cultural consensus about white slavery and its univocal narrative of anti-Semitism, can actually help to theorize a different affective relationship to history. CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? « Previous | Next Article » Table of Contents This Article doi: 10.1215/00104124-1335763 Comparative Literature 2011 Volume 63, Number 3: 307-327 » Abstract Full Text (PDF) References Classifications Article Services Email this article to a colleague Alert me when this article is cited Alert me if a correction is posted Similar articles in this journal Similar articles in Web of Science Download to citation manager Citing Articles Load citing article information Citing articles via Web of Science Google Scholar Articles by Solomon, C. Related Content Load related web page information Social Bookmarking CiteULike Complore Connotea Delicious Digg Facebook Google+ Reddit Technorati Twitter What's this? Current Issue Summer 2011, 63 (3) Alert me to new issues of Comparative Literature Duke University Press Journals ONLINE About the Journal Editorial Board Submission Guidelines Permissions Advertising Indexing / Abstracting Privacy Policy Subscriptions Library Resource Center Activation / Acct. Mgr. E-mail Alerts Help Feedback © 2011 by University of Oregon Print ISSN: 0010-4124 Online ISSN: 1945-8517 var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-5666725-1"); pageTracker._trackPageview();

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 20, 2011

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