The Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (Studies in German-Jewish Cultural History and Literature, Franz Rosenzweig ... Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

December 2, 2020
The Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (Studies in German-Jewish Cultural History and Literature, Franz Rosenzweig ... Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Karl Kraus created a bold newstyle of media criticism, penning incisive satires that elicitedboth admiration and outrage. Kraus’s spectacularly hostilecritiques often focused on his fellow Jewish journalists, whichbrought him a reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew.The Anti-Journalist overturns this view with unprecedentedforce and sophistication, showing how Kraus’s criticisms form thecenter of a radical model of German-Jewish self-fashioning, and howthat model developed in concert with Kraus’s modernist journalisticstyle.Paul Reitter’s study of Kraus’s writings situates them in thecontext of fin-de-siècle German-Jewish intellectual society. Heargues that rather than stemming from anti-Semitism, Kraus’sattacks constituted an innovative critique of mainstreamGerman-Jewish strategies for assimilation. Marshalling three of themost daring German-Jewish authors—Kafka, Scholem, andBenjamin—Reitter explains their admiration for Kraus’s project anddemonstrates his influence on their own notions of culturalauthenticity.The Anti-Journalist is at once a new interpretation ofa fascinating modernist oeuvre and a heady exploration of animportant stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking aboutidentity.