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Modernist Form and the Myth of Jewification$
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Neil Levi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255061

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255061.001.0001

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Judaization, Wagner, Nordau

(p.23) One Genealogies
Modernist Form and the Myth of Jewification

Neil Levi

Fordham University Press

This chapter first discusses Judaization's predictable associations with usury, money, and capitalism. It points to its origins in notions of religious interpretive difference and suggests its importance in helping us understand the role of the figure of the Jew in interpreting and representing the experience of modernity. The chapter then examines two texts commonly regarded as forming the origins of the Nazi antisemitic interpretation of modernism: Richard Wagner's 1850 essay “Judaism in Music,” which brings the term Verjüdung (Judaization) into the German language; and Max Nordau's 1892 bestseller Entartung (Degeneration), which is believed to have introduced the medicalized notion of degeneracy into the cultural sphere.

Keywords:   Jews, religious difference, Richard Wagner, Verjüdung, Max Nordau, degeneracy, modernism

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