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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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Italian Lizards and Literary Politics II

Italian Lizards and Literary Politics II

Deer I Say It

(p.155) Chapter 6 Italian Lizards and Literary Politics II
Bestiarium Judaicum

Jay Geller

Fordham University Press

This chapter turns to Heine’s Baths of Lucca, the prequel to City of Lucca, and follows Heine’s proleptic encounter on an Italian mountain road with a different sort of animal, a Hirsch or stag, in the form of the Jewish lottery dealer and chiropodist Hirsch-Hyacinth. One cervine encounter leads to another as the chapter takes a side trip into the woods when it inquires of the Austrian-Jewish author and Zionist Felix Salten’s 1922/23 novel Bambi and its 1940 sequel Bambi’s Children as to whether a doe is just a female deer. Close readings of both belie current attempts to read Salten’s novels as Zionist allegories of the dangers of European Jewish life and argue instead that they open up the relationship between human/animal difference and the designation of the outlaw that becomes an interpretive key for the Jew-as-Animal in chapter eight. Returning to Hirsch-Hyacinth, this chapter concludes by triangulating Heine’s character with the Luccan lizards and Kraus’s “Heine and the Consequences” discussed in chapter five in order to suggest that the distance between Heine’s and Kafka’s writings is less than conventionally assumed.

Keywords:   Bambi, Bambi’s Children, Baths of Lucca, deer, Heinrich Heine, Jews, Karl Kraus, Felix Salten, outlaw

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