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Strangers and Sojourners

Jewish Identity in Contemporary Francophone Fiction


Joyce Block Lazarus

Strangers and Sojourners demonstrates that there is a distinctive French Jewish literature today, characterized not by its authors' common nationality, but by their identification with a Jewish collectivity and with French language and culture. The six authors in this study, Memmi, Wiesel, Schwarz-Bart, Perec, Modiano, and Jacques, all writing after Auschwitz, engage in a quest for a modern Jewish consciousness. Torn between the opposing pulls of Judaism and French cultural values, they exhibit their tension and ambivalent feelings through the themes and structure of their fiction, and in their ambiguous relationship with the French language.