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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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Dogged by Destiny

Dogged by Destiny

“Lupus est homo homini, non homo, quom quails sit non navit”

(p.188) Chapter 8 Dogged by Destiny
Bestiarium Judaicum

Jay Geller

Fordham University Press

After observing how, despite a tradition of identifying Jews with wolves that spanned from Chrysostom to Vichy France, few Jewish werewolves prowled the Gentile legal, legendary, and literary accounts of lycanthropes prior to the twentieth century, this chapter examines correlations between the medieval German notion of the wargus, the werewolf or outlaw, and the identification of “the Jew” as wolf. In particular, it attends to the different ways H. Leivick, in his Yiddish narrative poem “Der Volf” (1920), and Curt Siodmak, in his script(s) for The Wolf Man (1941), work through the relation among “the Jew,” the Law, and the lupine/lycanthropic. The chapter also addresses Heine’s portrayal of diverse Jewish were-canids, whether imagined by Gentile audiences of Shakespeare’s Shylock or experienced by Jewish peddlers in nineteenth-century Central Europe. Further, after questioning whether to include Freud’s “Wolf-Man” case study among Jewish wolf-men, it suggests that canine-centered readings of the case have been barking up the wrong tree and that the wolf at Freud’s door was his fear of being accused of having plagiarized another psychiatrist, Dr. Moshe Wulff.

Keywords:   Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, law, H. Leivick, outlaw, Curt Siodmak, werewolf, wolf, The Wolf Man, “wolf man case study”

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