Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France was first published in 1983. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
These four essays—on Blanchot, Lacan, Giraudoux, and Gide—have as their focus the barely imaginable coherence which the writings of four major contemporaries take on when read in the light of France's pre-World War II heritage of anti-Jewish thought. As the essays delve into such crucial topics as the inaugural silence in Blanchot's sense of literature, the "style" of Lacan, Giraudoux's relation to Racine, and the sexual politics of Gide, they engage a realm that at times seems—or seemed—anti-Semitic in its essence. Negotiating the complex ramifications of a lost tradition and the structure of its obliteration, Jeffrey Mehlman, in his conclusion, speculates on the emblematic value of Walter Benjamin's perpetually deferred "journey to Palestine via France" and its import for textual interpretation.
A French version of Mehlman's essay on Blanchot, published in Tel quel,spurred an impassioned journalistic debate in Paris and London. Broadening still further the context of that inquiry, Legacies will prove a source of provocation and insight to all who are interested in the intellectual history of contemporary France.