Gabriel Josipovici

Three Figures

in European Judaism
Author: David Herman1
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This article explores three central figures that recur in Gabriel Josipovici's critical writing. All three are essentially solitary. First, there is the creative figure – the artist, the composer, the writer – alone in their study or studio. Second, there is a curiously impersonal figure, more elusive, harder to pin down. Not the writer or artist but an anonymous figure walking down the road, Wordsworth's solitaries in The Prelude and Paul Klee's Wander-Artist. And, finally, there are Jewish figures, especially from Kafka and the Hebrew Bible. What are these bare, elusive anonymous figures doing in Josipovici's writing? Why do they come up so often, throughout his work, from the mid 1970s to the present? And are they lifeless or are they full of life, deeply human, rooted in history and literature?

Contributor Notes

David Herman was born in 1957 and was awarded a Double First at Trinity College, Cambridge (1976–79), and then a Harkness Fellowship to study English and American Literature at Columbia University (1979–81). He worked as a television producer for twenty years and over the past fifteen years has written more than 650 articles, essays and book reviews for various publications.