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Bergelson, Benjamin and Berlin:

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores Bergelson's Berlin stories in dialogue with Freud, Otto Dix, and Benjamin. It situates Bergelson in Berlin in the 1920s in a cultural context informed by Freud, Dix, and Benjamin. The first part 'A Broken Face' focuses on Bergelson's story 'Tsvishn emigrantn' and the way it conjures the uncanny, that peculiar sense of unease that stems from the return of the familiar. The second part of the chapter turns to Benjamin's and Bergelson's narratives of ghosts in the city, and the moral and ethical demands made by these ghosts. The conclusion focuses on one of Bergelson's most shocking stories of violence, 'Tsvey rotskhim' ('Two murderers') and its staging of uncanny justice. Berlin was not the only place where Benjamin and Bergelson might have met one another; Moscow is another. Benjamin, like Bergelson is haunted by the violence of the past.

Keywords:Benjamin; Bergelson; Berlin; Moscow; Tsvey rotskhim; Tsvishn emigrantn



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