Billede af Søren Blak Hjortshøj
  • Universitetsvej 1, 43.3

    DK-4000 Roskilde


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Personlig profil


A short presentation of my Ph.d.-project:

Georg Brandes and “the transnational vision”

My Ph.D.-project is an interpretation of Georg Brandes´ innovative oeuvre in the light of his background as a Danish-Jewish writer. So far only a very limited part of the otherwise extensive research on Brandes´ work has had this starting point, to examine Brandes´ writings in view of his double-cultural relations – and the typical approach was here not to move beyond the projection of Georg Brandes as a so-called “assimilated Jew.” However, as a basis part of my project, I will suggest a new perspective on the category “assimilated Jew,” since this term does not hold as a suitable label either for Georg Brandes or the many other cosmopolitan orientated “bourgeois” European-Jews who struggled to find their place in society in the different national cultures around Europe in the last part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century.

   The focal point of my project will be to show a unique cosmopolitan ideal that Brandes constructs in his early writings. I call this ideal “the transnational vision.” With “the transnational vision”, Brandes identifies a distinctive, and in fact leading, position for “modern Jews” in the construction of the modern world. Nevertheless, it is significant that at the same time Brandes in this way venerates “modern Jewishness” and positively valorises a certain Jewish race-heritage as an essential basis for him and other “modern Jews” such as Heinrich Heine, Benjamin Disraeli and Ferdinand Lassalle, he also distances himself from being influenced by Jewish religion and tradition in his early works. For the later part of his writings, I will make evident that this ambiguous strategy continues and moreover I will try to formulate the constituents of this ambivalence. In doing this, I will argue that this indistinctiveness, with which Georg Brandes distances himself from Jewishness while at the same time projecting a disguised Jewish superiority-idea, has been a necessary strategy for him in his effort to build himself a career as an “intellectual” and scientist from the 1870s onwards.