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Jews in Business and their Representation in German Literature 1827-1934

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John Ward

This book gives an account of the literary representation of Jews as businessmen from the early nineteenth century to the onset of the Third Reich. The historical context provides the background for an examination of the literary representation of Jewish businessmen and presents evidence for the perpetuation, transformation, and combination of stereotypes.
The double bind of assimilation – that the Jews were vilified whether they succeeded or failed – is illustrated from literary treatments by the Romantic writer Wilhelm Hauff and the early twentieth-century writers Lion Feuchtwanger and Paul Kornfeld of the historical figure of ‘Jud Süß Oppenheimer’. Gustav Freytag’s use of the Jews as ‘counter-ideals’ in his notorious bestseller Soll und Haben (1855) and the onset of racial anti-Semitism in Wihelm von Polenz’s Der Büttnerbauer (1895) are illustrative of how literary anti-Semitism hardened in the course of the nineteenth century.
The book considers a number of literary texts, some well known, some less familiar, which are revealing of the way in which Jewish–Gentile relations were imagined in their time.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 The cautionary tale 4 Embourgeoisement and ‘decomposition’ 5 ‘Verjudung’ 10 Symbiosis 13 Chapter One The ‘Hoffaktor’: A Necessary Evil? 19 The Jud Süß motif in the writings of Wilhelm Hauff, Lion Feuchtwanger and Paul Kornfeld 19 The Süß case 21 The age of Josef Süß Oppenheimer 23 Modernisation, reform and setbacks 29 Wilhelm Hauff ’s Jud Süß 31 Hauff ’s Jud Süß in the context of Jewish business after the Edict of Emancipation of 1812 36 The treatment of the Jud Süß case in the 1920s 48 Chapter Two Citizens and Conmen 61 The image of the Jewish businessman in Gustav Freytag’s Soll und Haben 61 The characteristic behaviour of Jewish businessmen as portrayed in Soll und Haben 71 The implications of Soll und Haben for the image of the Jew in German literature 77 The portrayal of Jewish business practice in two of the works of Gustav Freytag’s Jewish contemporaries 82 The legacy of Soll und Haben 88 viii Chapter Three ‘Heimatkunst’ and ‘Hauptstadt’: The Portrayal of Urban and Rural Jewish Business People in the Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century 93 The image of the ‘nefarious’ Jewish businessman in Wilhelm von Polenz’s Der Büttnerbauer 93 Theodor Fontane’s ‘Judenbild’ 113 Shylock unter Bauern: a Nazi epilogue 131 Chapter Four The Challenge of the ‘Jewish Commercial Spirit’ in the Early Writing of Heinrich Mann 137 Heinrich von Treitschke: a ‘respectable’ anti-Semite? 141 ‘Gefühl’ and stereotype: the image of the Jewish plutocrat 145 The Jewish...

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