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Hero, Conspiracy, and Death: The Jewish Lectures

Translated by Alex Shannon

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Maria Janion

With Hero, Conspiracy and Death: The Jewish Lectures, the author has written a book of sweeping significance for readers interested in Polish history, Jewish history, and the Holocaust in which she asks troubling questions: Can a Jew be both a Jew and a Pole? Are we right to talk of «worthy» and «unworthy» death in the Holocaust? What are the implications of Adam Mickiewicz’s philo-Semitism? In Zygmunt Krasiński’s anti-Semitism, do we see the «specter of elimination»? Are humanist and enlightenment values useful in analyzing the Holocaust, or did the experience of Nazi genocide render them obsolete? Tracing the history of anti-Jewish stereotypes in early nineteenth-century Poland (and beyond), the author offers answers to these questions that are bold, clear and compassionate.
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Maria Janion is a historian of literature and ideas, whose main focus is romanticism and its legacy in contemporary culture. As Professor in the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), and currently in the Graduate School of Social Sciences at PAN’s Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, she has conducted a series of famous seminars.

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