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Assimilation or Cultural Encounter? The Picaresque in G. Bogrov’s Notes of a Jew and I. Ehrenburg’s The Stormy Life of Lasik Roitschwantz

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Chapter Summary

In Russian Jewish literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, works by Grigorii Bogrov and Ilya Ehrenburg have long been associated with what was referred to as "anti-Semitism", an elastic notion stretching so far as to encompass Jewish self-hatred and a blurry notion of "assimilation". Bogrov published his Notes of a Jew as a series of sketches between 1871 and 1873 in the liberal Russian monthly Otechestvennye zapiski. The journal was headed at the time by the poet Nikolai Nekrasov and provided a platform for the critical, even revolutionary Russian intelligentsia. This chapter takes its point of departure analytically from the moment of communication. Both Srulik, the first-person narrator in Bogrov's Notes of a Jew, and Lasik, his counterpart of Ehrenburg's The Stormy Life of Lasik Roitschwantz, aspire to enter and to take part in a variety of communication projects.

Keywords: anti-Semitism; Grigorii Bogrov; Ilya Ehrenburg; Nikolai Nekrasov; Notes of a Jew; Otechestvennye zapiski; revolutionary Russian intelligentsia; The Stormy Life of Lasik Roitschwantz



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