The Anti-Journalist by Paul Reitter
Karl Kraus and Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe (Studies in German-Jewish Cultural History and Literature, Franz Rosenzweig Miner)

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In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Karl Kraus created a bold new style of media criticism, penning incisive satires that elicited both admiration and outrage. Kraus’s spectacularly hostile critiques often focused on his fellow Jewish journalists, which brought him a reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew. The Anti-Journalist overturns this view with unprecedented force and sophistication, showing how Kraus’s criticisms form the center of a radical model of German-Jewish self-fashioning, and how that model developed in concert with Kraus’s modernist journalistic style.
Paul Reitter’s study of Kraus’s writings situates them in the context of fin-de-siècle German-Jewish intellectual society. He argues that rather than stemming from anti-Semitism, Kraus’s attacks constituted an innovative critique of mainstream German-Jewish strategies for assimilation. Marshalling three of the most daring German-Jewish authors—Kafka, Scholem, and Benjamin—Reitter explains their admiration for Kraus’s project and demonstrates his influence on their own notions of cultural authenticity. The Anti-Journalist is at once a new interpretation of a fascinating modernist oeuvre and a heady exploration of an important stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking about identity.

About Paul Reitter

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Paul Reitter is associate professor of Germanic languages and literatures at Ohio State University. He is the author of "The Anti-Journalist: Karl Kraus" and "Jewish Self-Fashioning in Fin-de-Siècle Europe".
Published February 1, 2008 by University Of Chicago Press. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Religion & Spirituality, Travel. Non-fiction

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The New York Review of Books

Arnold Schoenberg sent him a copy of Harmonielehre with the inscription, “I have learned more perhaps from you than one can learn if one is to remain independent.” Walter Benjamin, in one of his most important essays, cast Kraus as the century’s avenging angel: “Nothing is understood about this m...

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