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The Fanatic: Philip Roth and Hanif Kureishi Confront Success

The Fanatic: Philip Roth and Hanif Kureishi Confront Success S JEWS ATTEMPTED TO ENTER into the multicultural world of High Culture in the course of the nineteenth century the idea of Jewish economic success retained a sinister tinge. Even many Jews saw worldly success as a force that alienated them from their own culture and identity (see Heinze). Had not groups on both the Left and the Right from the 1890s onward warned about the collapse of Jewish culture or indeed its transmutation into an empty copy of the world in which the Jews of Europe lived? The Jew whose identity was defined by “business” became the antithetical image of the cultured Jew. Social transformation in the Western Diaspora became a mark of cultural collapse. No true creativity would be produced by such acculturated Jews, only the desiccated products of capitalistic social Darwinism. Such a dichotomy between success and art was present in America as well. In Israel Zangwill’s The Melting Pot (1909), America is a potential paradise for Jewish hybridity, but a hybridity that would result in a new American High Culture, a “New World Symphony,” not Jewish economic success. (Though Zangwill actually promises economic success for his protagonist when he has him offered the first http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

The Fanatic: Philip Roth and Hanif Kureishi Confront Success

Comparative Literature , Volume 58 (2) – Jan 1, 2006

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2006 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-58-2-153
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

S JEWS ATTEMPTED TO ENTER into the multicultural world of High Culture in the course of the nineteenth century the idea of Jewish economic success retained a sinister tinge. Even many Jews saw worldly success as a force that alienated them from their own culture and identity (see Heinze). Had not groups on both the Left and the Right from the 1890s onward warned about the collapse of Jewish culture or indeed its transmutation into an empty copy of the world in which the Jews of Europe lived? The Jew whose identity was defined by “business” became the antithetical image of the cultured Jew. Social transformation in the Western Diaspora became a mark of cultural collapse. No true creativity would be produced by such acculturated Jews, only the desiccated products of capitalistic social Darwinism. Such a dichotomy between success and art was present in America as well. In Israel Zangwill’s The Melting Pot (1909), America is a potential paradise for Jewish hybridity, but a hybridity that would result in a new American High Culture, a “New World Symphony,” not Jewish economic success. (Though Zangwill actually promises economic success for his protagonist when he has him offered the first

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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