‘Echter Südländer – Reb Motke – Deutschmann’? Debating Jewish Masculinity in Maxim Biller's Die Tochter

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This article explores the complex portrayal of Jewish masculinity in Maxim Biller's novel Die Tochter (2000). The protagonist Motti's masculine self is determined by a trauma sustained in the Lebanon War which leaves him emotionally broken and mentally ill, and his subsequent difficult life as a guilt-ridden Israeli with German roots living in Germany. At first, sex with German women seems to enable Motti to regain the masculinity he 'lost' when he failed as an heroic Israeli soldier. As the novel progresses, however, Motti's sexual behaviour becomes increasingly perverse, particularly in his incestuously abusive relationship with his daughter. This corruption of the parent-daughter tie mirrors his disturbed relationship to his Jewish-Israeli self. I argue that, rather than reproducing the age-old dichotomy between Germans and Jews, perpetrators and victims, Biller undermines this opposition in the present day by paying close attention to Israel and its militaristic masculinity. The article thus reveals how Biller teases out the complexity of the relationship between Germans and (Israeli) Jews in today's Germany.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalForum for Modern Language Studies
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
EventThe German Masculine and 'The Other' - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Oct 2009 → …


  • Biller, Maxim
  • Germany
  • Israel
  • Jew
  • Jewish
  • masculinity
  • militarism
  • Die Tochter
  • sexuality
  • trauma
  • war


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