Odd Man Out: Jewish Masculinity, Nationalism and the Novel

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Stock, Jessica Suzanne
The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY.
This dissertation examines Victorian attempts to order the place of Jews within the nation and Modernism's figuring of the Jew as a signifier of difference. Jewish masculinity's fraught relationship with Western gender norms makes its representation particularly dynamic and useful in the context of nationalism. My dissertation reveals and reflects upon the gender politics of race, and how those politics create myths of nationalism. In the ever-widening field of Jewish Studies, my project answers the simple question of why Jewish masculinity played a developmental role in the shaping of the nation and the transnational novel. During a time when gender determined citizenship and national identity, Jewish masculinity signified and absorbed often contradictory racial, sexual, and political discourses. My project reclaims representations of Jewish men in order to better understand how they became the odd men out. The title Odd Man Out captures the ambivalent positions that the Jewish man occupies--odd denotes a marginal and perplexing national position, odd man plays with gender and racial assumptions, and odd man out places him in the discourse of difference which depends upon both disclosure and invisibility. My dissertation explores all of these discourses that form Jewish masculinity's representational ambivalence. Jewish masculinity facilitates in the establishment of the nineteenth-century nation, and in the twentieth-century deconstruction of the validity and fixity of the nation. Jewish masculinity reveals that gender and the nation, and the novels that unravel them, have always been fictions.