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Antisemitism, philosemitism and the rise of Holocaust memory

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Moyn's article is primarily a theoretical consideration of whether philosemitism can and should be studied as a 'cultural code' in precise historical contexts, just as antisemitism has been. To illustrate, it takes up controversies around works by Roger Peyrefitte and Jean-Francois Steiner in France in the mid-1960s, arguing that their books, including their reception, mobilized a temporary cultural code based on flirting with antisemitism in the putative service of philosemitism. Moyn also argues that this time-bound dynamic contributed to the rise of Holocaust memory at a crucial moment. Some analysis of content and reception is provided in the cases of both works at issue, but the dominant purpose is to complicate recent assertions of continuity in the history of antisemitism: ideological content can matter less than function, with continuity at one level masking discontinuity at another.

Keywords: Holocaust memory; Jean-Francois Steiner; Roger Peyrefitte; antisemitism; cultural code; philosemitism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-02-01

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