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Zoë Roth
Junior Fellow (10/2012 – 09/2013)

The Narrative of Experience: The Jewish Avant-Garde, 1918-1956


Despite the large numbers of Jewish artists and writers involved in early twentieth-century European avant-garde movements, such as Dada and surrealism, to date no work has mapped the Jewish avant-garde’s extent and influence. This is partly an effect of their adoption of a cosmopolitan, universalist identity and disassociation from their origins, but the diversity of the Jewish avant-garde, concentrated in European milieus, but extending to North Africa and the Americas, also defies a syncretic narrative. Moreover, any Jewish avant-garde praxis must be placed within the historical context of European anti-Semitism and fascism’s political assimilation of modernist aesthetics. Thus, I will investigate the unexplored tension between the avant-garde discourses to which Jewish artists/writers were attracted, and the fascist politics that exploited currents of the same aesthetic movements.


Zoë Roth, has an MA in Comparative Literature from King’s College London, where she has also been a PhD candidate and teaching assistant since 2009. Her thesis explores the ways in which the Holocaust has shaped literary representations of the body and the bodily experience of space, time, and language in twentieth-century European literature. She has published papers Philip Roth, Michel Houellebecq, and Angela Carter.

List of Publications Zoë Roth

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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