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Hollywood and Anti-Semitism
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  • 25 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9780511038402 | ISBN-10: 0511038402)

This book examines the role of American Jews in the entertainment industry, from the turn of the century to the outbreak of World War II. Eastern European Jewish immigrants are often credited with building a film industry during the first decade of the twentieth century that they dominated by the 1920s. In this study, Steven Carr reconceptualizes Jewish involvement in Hollywood by examining prevalent attitudes towards Jews among American audiences. Analogous to the Jewish Question of the nineteenth century, which was concerned with the full participation of Jews within public life, the Hollywood Question of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s addressed the Jewish population within mass media. This study reveals the powerful set of assumptions concerning ethnicity and media influence as related to the role of the Jew in the motion picture industry.

• Not about Jewish influence, but about how cultural ideas constructed a way of seeing the Jew and media • Considers how allegations appeared of Jewish control over Hollywood • Re-examines 'Hollywood novels': West's Day of the Locust, Fitzgerald's Last Tycoon, and Shulberg's What Makes Sammy Run?


Introduction: what is the Hollywood question?; Part I. The Hollywood Question and American Anti-Semitism, 1880–1929: 1. Anti-Semitism and the American Jewish question; 2. Religion, race and morality in the Hollywood question; Part II. The Hollywood Question for a New America, 1929–1941: 3. A New Deal for the Hollywood question; 4. The Hollywood question in popular culture; 5. The politics of the Hollywood question; 6. Answering the Hollywood question; Part III. The Hollywood Question, 1941 and Beyond: 7. Popular culture answers the Hollywood question; 8. The Hollywood question in crisis, 1941; 9. The new Hollywood question.


'In its dynamic expansionism and near universal appeal, American popular culture is often theorised, and experienced by the rest of the world, as a destructive, hegemonic force, even as an unstoppable viral infection which bids to wipe out indigenous cultures. Carr's Hollywood and anti-Semitism demonstrates the degree to which the experience was equally true at home. Do the Jews 'control' Hollywood? How convenient to project this quintessentially American force as the province of alien interlopers.' London Review of Books

'Steven Carr's book is an important contribution to the history of the motion picture industry and to our knowledge about ethic stereotyping in public discourses … Steven Carr shifts the terms of the debate from morality to history, from evil to discourse and the results are most impressive.' Archiv für Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen

'… Carr's book offers an important and erudite study of anti-semitism and its continuing role in the history of the Hollywood industry.' Michael Hammond, Journal of Jewish Studies

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