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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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The Raw and the Cooked in the Old/New World, or Talk to the Animals

The Raw and the Cooked in the Old/New World, or Talk to the Animals

(p.170) Chapter 7 The Raw and the Cooked in the Old/New World, or Talk to the Animals
Bestiarium Judaicum

Jay Geller

Fordham University Press

This chapter engages another instrumentalization of Kafka’s animal figures for contemporary cultural-political ends, Jens Hanssen’s scavenged-together anti-Zionist reading of “Jackals and Arabs.” Against Hanssen’s article, it reads Kafka’s “animal story” and Hanssen’s own sources as well as draws upon genre analysis. It complicates the frequent (including Hanssen’s) identification of the story’s jackals with the Jews by, for example, their apparent shared emphasis on eating habits. Among the means employed are an examination of Robertson Smith’s classic account of a Saracen Arab sacrifice and consumption of a camel repeated in Freud’s Totem and Taboo and an analysis of Kafka’s “Investigations of a Dog” that also reveals refractions of Kafka’s critique of Brod’s The Jewesses. The chapter further problematizes Kafka’s alleged identification of dogs and Jews (that a Max Brod mistranscription had exacerbated) by contextualizing Kafka’s most quoted canine invocation, Josef K’s dying “Like a dog!” in The Trial. The chapter finally argues for the anti-allegorical force and function of Kafka’s allegedly “Jewish jackals.”

Keywords:   allegory, dogs, eating habits, genre analysis, jackals, “Jackals and Arabs”, Franz Kafka, postcolonial interpretation, Totem and Taboo, Zionism

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