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Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew$
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Jeffrey S. Librett

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823262915

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823262915.001.0001

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Goethe’s Orientalizing Moment (II):

Goethe’s Orientalizing Moment (II):

The Poetry of the West-East Divan

(p.90) Chapter 4 Goethe’s Orientalizing Moment (II)
Orientalism and the Figure of the Jew

Jeffrey S. Librett

Fordham University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the structure of typological Orientalism in the poems of Goethe’s West-East Divan cycle by performing the detailed analysis of selected poems. The analysis focuses on three aspects of the cycle: the East-West relationship (as embodied in that between Hafis and Goethe), the feminine-masculine relationship (as embodied in the figures of Hatem and Suleika), and the man-boy relationship (figured as that between Hatem and Saki). The chapter reads these relationships as the three principal levels on which the poetic cycle attempts to create the poetic illusion of the pure “moment, the first of these levels being privileged to the degree that the entire cycle is devoted to it. On each level, the dialectical reversal of early and late, active and passive, and thus also the doubling and inversion of typology (rather than the eschewing or overcoming of typology, for example) constitues the main mechanism through which this poetic illusion is generated. The chapter includes a brief excursus on Goethe’s sometime anti-Semitism as well.

Keywords:   Anti-Semitism, presence, gaze, gift, moment, West-East Divan, Goethe, Persia, poetry, masculine/feminine

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