It’s Not So Simple: Jean Amery on Wittgenstein, Jewish Self-Hatred & Simplicity (Menachem Feuer)

An excellent read by Menachem Feuer writing about Amery writing about Wittgenstein, simplicity, and anti-Semitism

Schlemiel Theory


I have written a lot on the place and meaning of simplicity and smallness in both Schlemiel Theory (see here and here) and Berfrois (see here and here).  As Ruth Wisse points out in the Schlemiel as Modern Hero, the schlemiel character is rooted in the Hasidic take on the simpleton (as found in Rabbi Nachman’s tales).   There is, to be sure, a resonance between different folk traditions on this topic.  (Walter Benjamin explores this in his seminal essay on Kafka.)   I have, for this reason, done a lot of work (and will continue to do more) on the fiction of Robert Walser (which takes simplicity and smallness as central motifs).   But, as Jean Amery points, simplicity is a double sided coin.  As he notes, anti-Semitism draws on the distinction between the “simple” gentile and the “clever” Jew.  And as Sander Gilman points out in his…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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