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Bestiarium JudaicumUnnatural Histories of the Jews$
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Jay Geller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275595

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275595.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2019

(Con)Versions of Cats and Mice and Other Mouse Traps

(Con)Versions of Cats and Mice and Other Mouse Traps

Chapter:
(p.81) Chapter 3 (Con)Versions of Cats and Mice and Other Mouse Traps
Source:
Bestiarium Judaicum
Author(s):

Jay Geller

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823275595.003.0004

This chapter examines the possible connections between the staging of cat-mouse and cat-rat pairings by Franz Kafka and Heinrich Heine, on the one hand, and the asymmetrical and often violent power relations between Gentiles and Jews, on the other. It first, by means of a deconstruction of Michael Schmidt’s new-historicist article on Kafka’s “Little Fable,” interpellates Kafka’s posthumously published piece into a number of intertextual (including his letters to Milena Jesenská and the fragment “The Giant Mole”) and extratextual networks in order to suggest linkages between it and his situation as a Jew in Germanophone Central Europe in the early twentieth century. It then situates a late (c. 1852–55), also posthumously published, poem by Heine, “From the Age of Pigtails,” that he labeled a “fable” over and against the Jews’ acquisition and subsequent partial loss of civil rights in the first quarter of the nineteenth century as well as in relation to the tragic fate of Ludwig Marcus that accompanied the rise and fall of the Verein für Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden. Bridging these two analyses is a discussion of the swarm of “Rat-” phonemes and morphemes that plagued Freud’s “Rat Man” case study and notes.

Keywords:   cat and mouse, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Milena Jesenská, Jewish Question, Franz Kafka, new historicism, rat man case study, relationality, Wissenschaft des Judentums

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