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Judaism in Marcel Proust

Lustig, Bette H.

Judaism in Marcel Proust

Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, and Judaic Perspectives in Art

Series: Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures - Volume 207

Year of Publication: 2012

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. X, 162 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-2034-3 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.360 kg, 0.794 lbs

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Book synopsis

Through detailed in-depth exegeses of Proust’s literary texts (A la Recherche du temps perdu, Jean Santeuil, and Contre Sainte-Beuve), Judaism in Marcel Proust: Anti-Semitism, Philo-Semitism, and Judaic Perspectives in Art explains anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism as present in actual French literary texts. Unlike other studies about Proust and Judaism, the narrative in this book is in English; the focus is on the actual French texts, not on Proust’s biography. Primary Judaic sources such as the Hebrew Bible, the Babylonian Talmud, Moses Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, and Rashi’s commentaries illuminate Proust’s texts and skillfully demonstrate their anti-Semitic and philo-Semitic subtexts.
The principal Proustian themes that are examined in depth include, first of all, the anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism of the characters as informed by Jean-Paul Sartre’s Réflexions sur la queston juive; second, Christian interpretations of Judaic biblical references and their anti-Semitic connotations as well as the philo-Semitic references to the Hebrew Bible and to Judaic culture and ritual contained in the Proust texts; third, the importance of references to art in Proust’s texts and their Judaic significance.
Written in a lively, clear, and accessible style, Judaism in Marcel Proust engages the reader, both Proustophile and Proust scholar alike. It would be an excellent choice for the reading list of courses on Proust as well as for French history and social psychology courses on anti-Semitism and philo-Semitism relating to the Dreyfus case and the Belle Epoque.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Bette H. Lustig was awarded a PhD in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University. Dr. Lustig has published several articles on writers including Ludovic Janvier, François Mauriac, and Romain Gary. She has also published the textbook Textes et pastiches : une initiation à la littérature. Dr. Lustig has taught and lectured extensively in several Boston-area colleges, including Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston University, and Boston College. She was also recently invited to give three lectures on Marcel Proust at Harvard University.


Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures. Vol. 207
General Editors: Tamara Alvarez-Detrell and Michael G. Paulson