Writing in a World of Strangers: The Invention of Jewish Literature Revisited

  • Irene Zwiep (University of Amsterdam)


The Jewish struggle for admission into the European canon puts a spotlight on precisely those tensions within cosmopolitan literature that are debated in contemporary scholarship: the continuum between unity and multiplicity, the nature of intersectionality and the (im)possibility of cosmopolitan aesthetics, always against the background of persistent foundational notions (this is typically German/Jewish/…) and the dialectic of inclusion and exclusion that these notions trigger. This article demonstrates how in the shadow of Goethe’s Weltliteratur the nineteenth-century Jewish philologists developed a parallel programme with, hardly surprising, eine schöne Rolle for Jewish literature. In this paper, I would like to briefly introduce that programme, specify the role played by Jewish literature, and draw out some lessons for the current attempt at creating an inclusive, egalitarian canon.

Keywords: Jewish literature, World literature, Cosmopolitanism

How to Cite:

Zwiep, I., (2022) “Writing in a World of Strangers: The Invention of Jewish Literature Revisited”, Journal of Latin Cosmopolitanism and European Literatures 7. doi:

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Published on
23 Jun 2022