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Mixed FeelingsTropes of Love in German Jewish Culture$
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Katja Garloff

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704963

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704963.001.0001

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Figures of Love in Later Romantic Antisemitism

Figures of Love in Later Romantic Antisemitism

Achim von Arnim

(p.73) 3 Figures of Love in Later Romantic Antisemitism
Mixed Feelings

Katja Garloff

Cornell University Press

This chapter draws on psychoanalytically inflected theories of ideology to offer a new explanation of the apparent inconsistencies of Arnim's antisemitism. Slavoj Žižek's concept of the “social fantasy” and Homi Bhabha's notion of “colonial mimicry” both stipulate that ideologies can incorporate a great deal of inconsistency and ambivalence without losing their effectiveness. These post-Freudian theories shed new light on Arnim precisely because ambiguity and ambivalence proliferate in his writings around the motif of interreligious love. It is shown that romantic attachments are the means by which Arnim figures the possibilities and the limits of Christian-Jewish rapprochement. It is also argued that interfaith love stories fulfill a distinct function in Arnim's political thought, which combines German nationalism with a critique of rising industrial capitalism. Arnim wrote several texts that either stage the emergence of a German community that excludes Jews or depict the corrosion of such a community through French occupation and rising industrial capitalism. These texts include the openly antisemitic speech “On the Distinguishing Signs of Jewishness,” the unpublished prose fragment “Reconciliation in the Summer Holiday,” and the complex novella Gentry by Entailment (Die Majorats-Herren). In each of these texts, the dramatization of failing Christian-Jewish love affairs serves to gloss over the tensions that trouble Arnim's visions of social harmony and political unity.

Keywords:   Achim von Arnim, antisemitism, Slavoj Žižek, Homi Bhabha, Christian-Jewish rapprochement, interfaith love stories, German nationalism, capitalism

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