leagues included Geoffrey Hartman,nHarold Bloom, and Jacques Derrida.nDid their thinking and writing givenhim cause to change his mind? Wenhave many statements that he did notngo around Yale making openly anti-nSemitic remarks. In other words, henwas not stupid, which no one accusesnhim of being. The issue is, did he evernchange his mind from his clearly expressednopinion of 1941, that shipping,nfor example, Hartman, Bloom, andnDerrida off to “a Jewish colony isolatednfrom Europe would not involve, fornthe literary life of the West, deplorablenconsequences”?nIt is clear from a reading of thenessays on De Man that the only aspectnof De Man’s past that bothers mostntheorists is his contempt for Jews.nThere is not a single attack on De Mannbecause he was a Quisling, because henbetrayed his country for an ideology.nThe normal, healthy person loves hisncountry as he loves his family, notnbecause they fit into a theory, butnbecause they are his. If your son failsnan examination or your country loses an”JEWS IN CONTEMPORARYnLITERATURE, ” FROM LEnSOIR, MARCH 4, 1941.nPopular anti-Semitism likes to considernthe cultural phenomena of the postwarnperiod (after the war of 1914-1918) asndegenerate and decadent, because Judaized.nLiterature has not escaped thisnlapidary judgment. All one needs to do isnto find some Jewish writers under Latinizednpseudonyms to consider all contemporarynliterary production as pollutednand baneful. This idea brings somenrather dangerous consequences. First ofnall, it leads to the a priori condemnationnof a complete literature which does notnmerit this fate. In addition, as soon asnone wants to accord some merit toncontemporary letters, it would be a verynunflattering evaluation of Western writersnto reduce them to being simplenimitators of a Jewish culture which isnforeign to them.nThe Jews themselves have contributednto spreading this myth. They havenoften boasted of being the leaders of thenliterary movements that characterize ourn32/CHRONICLESnbattle to Germany, you do not abandonnhim or repudiate it. That is whatnStephen Decatur meant when henmade his famous toast: Our country,nright or wrong. Most Americans knownthis instinctively, just as they knownwhat kind of man deserts his wife andnchildren or flatters brutal dictators fornself-advancement. We begin to understandnDe Man’s obsession with Rousseau,nto whom he attributes his ownnviews. They were the same kind ofnperson, although even Rousseau nevernmanaged to achieve De Man’s triple ofnQuisling, bankrupt, and deserter of hisnfamily.nTotalitarianism has lost, when itnhas lost, because of the existencenof the United States of America. ThenAmerican way of life represented in then40’s, as it still does, a profound commitmentnto the traditions — political, ethical,nand religious — that have developednout of ancient Greece, Rome, andnIsrael; traditions that helped form Europe.nIt stands as the great alternative tonthe deracinated ideologies that almostnage. In reality, however, the mistake hasna deeper cause. The widespread opinionnthat the modern novel and poetry arenonly a sort of monstrous excrescence ofnthe World War is the origin of the thesisnof a Jewish coup d’etat. Since the Jewsnreally have played an important role innthe artificial and disordered existence ofnEurope since 1920, a novel born in thatnatmosphere would deserve, up to a certainnpoint, the adjective, Judaized.nThe reality, however, is different. Itnseems that aesthetic evolution obeysnvery powerful laws which continue tonact even when humanity is shaken bynpowerful events. The Worid War provokedna profound disruption in thenpolitical and economic wodd. The lifenof art, however, was much less shakennup, and the forms we know today arenthe logical and normal consequences ofnwhat took place before.nThe situation is particularly clear innthe case of the novel. Stendahl’s definition,n”the novel is a mirror that takes anwalk along a great highway,” containsnin it the law that still today rules thisnliterary genre. First of all one sees thennndestroyed Europe during World War II.nThese European traditions survive innmany ways, in memory and in practice,nbut one of the most important waysnthey survive is in books. The Muslimsnknow this. They call Christians andnJews “Peoples of the Book.” WithinnEnglish literature, from the poet ofnBeowulf to Walker Percy, these traditionsnare presupposed and represented.nThey live there, among other places. Ifnyoung people read these great works,nthese traditions will seize on theirnminds as they have on so many otherngenerations.nThe genius of Deconstruction isnthat it allows the teacher, the transmitternof society’s values, to concentratenon what is not talked about. Is Pamelanfrigid? Is Jim in love with Huck Finn?nWhy are the works of the canon permeatednwith Platonism, or Ghristianity,nor patriarchy? What is the feministnperspective on Shakespeare? (ReadnThe Taming of the Shrew.) Thenteacher may spend class time, and thenstudent may pass hours writing papers,nexorcizing these demons. In one essay.nobligation to respect scrupulously exteriornreality. By digging a little deeper,nhowever, novelists ended up exploitingnpsychological reality. Stendahl’s mirrornno longer remains motionless along thenroad. It is undertaking investigationsninto the most secret recesses of thencharacters’ souls. This region has beennproven so productive in surprises andnriches that it is still the one and onlynfield for a novelist to investigate.nGide, Kafka, Hemingway, Lawrencen— one could draw out the list indefinitely—nall of them are only trying tonpenetrate, according to the methodsnthat belong to their own personalities,ninto the secrets of the inner life. In thisnway, they show that they are not innovatorsnwho have broken with all thentraditions of the past, but are simplencontinuers who are only deepening thenrealist aesthetic that is a century old.nA similar demonstration could benmade in the area of poetry. The formsnthat seem to us the most revolutionary,nsuch as Surrealism or Futurism, in realitynhave orthodox ancestries that cannotnbe detached from them.n