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Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women: Metaphors of Projection in the Works of Wyndham Lewis, Charles Williams, and Graham Greene

ANDREA FREUD LOEWENSTEIN
Copyright Date: 1993
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 400
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfj2h
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    Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women
    Book Description:

    "A remarkable study, one that I recommend to any reader fascinated by the shaping of culture and the power of the psyche."and3151;The Forward How typical of his generation was T.S. Eliot when he complained that Hitler made an intelligent anti-semitism impossible for a generation? In her new book, Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women, novelist and critic, Andrea Freud Loewenstein examines the persistent anti-semitic tendencies in modernist, British intellectual culture. Pursuing her subject with literary, historical, and psychological analyses, Loewenstein argues that this anti-semitism must be understood in terms of its metaphorical link with misogyny. Situated in the context of the history of Jews in Britain, Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Women begins by questioning the widespread belief that the British government was a friend to the Jews in the 30s and 40s. Loewenstein shows that, as evident in the hypocrisy of many British governmental policies prior to and during WWII, Britain actively collaborated in the Jews' destruction. Against the backdrop of this tragic complicity in the Holocaust, Loewenstein evaluates Jewish stereotypes in the works of three representative twentieth-century British thinkers and writers. Her analysis provides a revealing critique of British modernism. In a larger sense, Loathsome Jews and Engulfing Womenexplores the riddle of prejudice. Loewenstein argues that anti-semitism is nurtured in an environment populated by other hatreds --misogyny, homophobia, and racism. To explain the interaction of these prejudices, she develops an investigative model grounded in object relations theory and informed by the works of such theoretically diverse authors as Virginia Woolf, Kate Millett, and Alice Miller. Loewenstein lucidly argues within an autobiographical framework, insisting on the need for critics to . . . look within ourselves for 'that terrible other' rather than to complacently assume that we ourselves exist outside the ideology of power. This well-written and readable book will be of interest to many people, ranging students of British history to psychoanalysts, from historians of Jewish culture to anyone interested in feminist and literary theory.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-5275-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Jeffrey Berman

    As New York University Press inaugurates a new series of books on literature and psychoanalysis, it seems appropriate to pause and reflect briefly upon the history of psychoanalytic literary criticism. For a century now it has struggled to define its relationship to its two contentious progenitors and come of age. After glancing at its origins, we may be in a better position to speculate on its future.

    Psychoanalytic literary criticism was conceived at the precise moment in which Freud, reflecting upon his self-analysis, made a connection to two plays and thus gave us a radically new approach to reading literature....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    Wyndham Lewis wrote:

    [A] man is made, not born: and he is made, of course, with very great difficulty. From the time he yells and kicks in his cradle, to the time he receives his last kick at school, he is recalcitrant.¹

    It requires only a slight textual alteration—the substitution of “book” for man and “it” for “he”—to make this statement applicable to the work in hand. In my introduction, I will attempt to give the reader a sense of the process of making this book—from the moment of its conception through its early yelling, the gentle...

  6. ONE The Jews of Britain: A Historical Overview
    (pp. 16-43)

    As an American child in the late 1950s, I read in my history textbooks of the Spanish and Portuguese, hysterical Catholics who enjoyed burning people at the stake during the Inquisition and whose explorers gleefully destroyed entire Indian civilizations, complete with gold and plumbing. Quite different were the English explorers, gentlemen in boats with beautiful white sails, who, once they had sighted land, sailed straight home to make their report on bended knees to their lady queen. England, my textbooks told me, was a civilized country of religious tolerance and scientific inquiry. True, the English had once, briefly, fought against...

  7. TWO A Survey of the Surveys
    (pp. 44-77)

    In my introduction, I spoke of the experience I had as a young and naive Jewish reader of encountering with a feeling of internalized shame the Jews who peopled my favorite books. Ever since David Philipson’s pioneering workThe Jew in English Fiction(1901), critics have been doing what would have been so helpful to me at that time: taking that shame out of the closet and naming it. The work has been done inclusively and well, with each new critic building on the scholarship of the last. What has, to my knowledge, never been done and what I will...

  8. THREE In Search of a Psychoanalytic Theory
    (pp. 78-118)

    The more closely I approached the work of the three authors in this study, the clearer it became to me that for each of them the representation of Jews was integrally tied up with the representation of women, and both were part of an intricate associative cluster or defensive system; as Gilman puts it, “heuristic structures that the self uses to integrate the various stereotypes associated by analogy” (Gilman,Difference and Pathology, 22). As I studied these structures, each one seemed to take on a life and shape of its own, and I saw each system’s capacity to take in...

  9. FOUR The Molten Column Within: Wyndham Lewis
    (pp. 119-187)

    One could argue that to begin the main body of this book with an in-depth examination of the life and work of self-proclaimed “Enemy” Wyndham Lewis hardly promises a balanced approach. As Fredric Jameson puts it in hisFables of Aggression:

    The polemic hostility to feminism, the uglier misogynist fantasies embedded in his narratives, the obsessive phobia against homosexuals, the most extreme restatements of grotesque traditional myths and attitudes—such features, released by Lewis’s particular sexual politics… are not likely to endear him to the contemporary reader.¹

    Were this an attempt at a balanced survey of authorial attitudes during this...

  10. FIVE Charles Williams’s Extrusion Machine
    (pp. 188-240)

    Poet, novelist, and theologian Charles Williams was a tremendously fertile writer who produced thirty-eight books of poetry, drama, biography, theology, religious scholarship, literary criticism, and fiction in his fifty-nine years. His productions have an outwardly less driven quality than Lewis’s, but his system is equally pervasive and all-encompassing and is reproduced in virtually the same form in all the genres in which he wrote. As we have seen in the previous chapter, Wyndham Lewis’s authorial structure was essentially a paranoid and narcissistic one. He saw himself as the victim at the center of a ring of conspiring hostile forces bent...

  11. SIX Escaping the Inner Void: The Early Novels of Graham Greene
    (pp. 241-311)

    Graham Greene, like the other two authors in this study, experienced the world as an evil and dangerous place in which constant vigilance was necessary for survival. However, Greene, unlike either Lewis or Williams, located the problem inside as well as outside of himself. A self-diagnosed manic-depressive, he frequently referred to himself as soiled goods or as a cracked bell, images which recur in his work to indicate a potentially fine man who has been damaged or destroyed by childhood trauma.¹ A hunted, guilt-ridden man like the many hunted and guilty men he created in his fiction, Graham Greene spent...

  12. SEVEN Conclusion
    (pp. 312-318)

    As I attempt to draw this lengthy study to a conclusion, what surprises me most is its cohesiveness. The book which began as a broad survey widened in its scope before it narrowed. At one point I feared that my various sorties into the fields of historical literary criticism, Anglo-Jewish history, and psychoanalytic theory had been a waste of precious time, a self-defeating method of prolonging an already lengthy process, and a diversion from my main task of close textual analysis. Looking back now, it is clear to me that far from wasting my time, in my various ventures “outside”...

  13. Appendix: A Historical and Literary Timeline of Jews in England
    (pp. 319-332)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 333-358)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 359-372)
  16. Index
    (pp. 373-384)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 385-385)