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The Frontier WithinEssays by Abe Kōbō$
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Kōbō Abe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163866

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163866.001.0001

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The Frontier Within

The Frontier Within

(p.124) The Frontier Within
The Frontier Within

Abe Kōbō

Richard F. Calichman

Columbia University Press

The essay of this chapter explores the notion of the “frontier within” by addressing the issue of Jewish particularity. Beyond the dimension of mere prejudice or discrimination, the text notes the apparent particularity that is hidden in the way Jews have been labeled as distinct from peasants and as strictly of the city. It links the “frontier within” with the work of many Jewish writers such as Franz Kafka, whom it compares to a non-Jewish writer, Leo Tolstoy. The text considers the claim that socialist revolution is a necessary and sufficient condition for the eradication of anti-Semitism; how authentic citizens appear in the form of peasants, while pseudocitizens are driven off to the cities; and the Jewish question. It asserts that the state, which once fought against the “heresy” of the frontier and vigorously protected its national boundaries, must safeguard the notion of legitimacy against the “heresy” of the frontier within—that is, migrant society.

Keywords:   frontier within, Jewish particularity, Jews, peasants, Jewish writers, anti-Semitism, authentic citizens, cities, Jewish question, migrant society

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