Courting Failure: On Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt’s Readings of the Schlemiel – An Essay Published in Berfrois

I recently wrote an essay on Walter Benjamin and Hannah Arendt’s readings of the schlemiel and published it on the online journal Berfrois.  This essay touches on thinkers and themes that will appear in my book on the schlemiel.  It is a foreshadowing, if you will. Here is the link to the article: http://www.berfrois.com/2014/07/menachem-feuer-walter-benjamin-hannah-arendts-readings-of-the-schlemiel/ Enjoy! Menachem […]

Irving Howe’s Recollections of Hannah Arendt

Irving Howe and Hannah Arendt both published important essays in The Partisan Review.   Howe published and edited the important 1953 issue of The Partisan Review where he included Saul Bellow’s monumental translation of I.B. Singer’s “Gimpel the Fool” and an important introduction on Jewishness. Arendt published essays at The Partisan Review on philosophy, literature, and […]

On Hannah Arendt’s Reading of Rahel Varnhagen and the Schlemiel – Take One

Schlemiel Theory has published several posts on Hannah Arendt and her reading of the schlemiel in her celebrated essay “The Jew as Pariah.” As I pointed out in many of my readings, Arendt believed that the schlemiel had, for a certain time during modernity, a necessity. But, as she argues (and many critics overlook), she […]

World(less) Jews: A Note on Hannah Arendt’s Descriptions of The World, Worldlessness, and Jewishness

Reading through a 1964 interview between Hannah Arendt and Gunter Gaus, I was struck by Arendt’s responses to Gaus regarding the question as to whether or not Jews were apolitical and worldless.  Gaus was prompted to ask these questions because of Arendt’s comments on her relationship to the “Jewish people.”  With this in mind, Gaus […]

Does Hannah Arendt’s Reading of “The Human Condition” Pass or Fail the Schlemiel Test?

Who we are, in many ways, has to do with how we appear to others.  The interpretation of our actions by other people may determine how we think of ourselves and how we will be regarded by what Hannah Arendt – the Jewish-German philosopher- calls “the world.”   Furthermore, for Arendt, “who” we are – as […]

Should Jews be Normal or Exceptional? Hannah Arendt and Gary Shteyngart’s Reading of the Schlemiel and Normality

Judith Butler has, on many different occasions, pointed out that she is taking on the legacy of Hannah Arendt.  And by this she means Arendt’s legacy vis-à-vis her work on the political.  One of the terms Butler uses in her political vocabulary – which also pops up in her work on sexuality – is “normalization.” […]

Sarah Silverman, Hannah Arendt, and “The Old/New Lord of Dreams”

Last night, before I went to sleep, I noticed that Sarah Silverman had Tweeted something that had schlemiel written all over it. Nap time again. Crazy busy dream life. Very little time for life life — Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) August 27, 2013 Why? In Hannah Arendt’s essay, “The Jew as Pariah: The Hidden Tradition,” Arendt […]

A New York Intellectual’s Jewish Question: Alfred Kazin’s Reflections on Jewishness and Writing

Alfred Kazin is known as one of the “New York Intellectuals.”  This group of pre and post War Jewish American thinkers – most of which were the children of immigrants – included brilliant budding minds such Irving Howe, Hannah Arendt, Leslie Fiedler, Saul Bellow, Paul Goodman, and Irving Kristol.   While they were all staunchly anti-Stalinist, […]