Book Announcement: Jews in an Illusion of Paradise: Dust and Ashes Volume One—Comedians and Catastrophes

Jews in an Illusion of Paradise: Dust and Ashes Volume One—Comedians and Catastrophes now available from Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Hardback, pp410, £63.99 / $108.95

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of Jews in an Illusion of Paradise: Dust and Ashes Volume One—Comedians and Catastrophes by Norman Simms.

The focus of this volume is on essential themes, images and generic patterns, beginning with a Talmudic legend about four scholars. They, by means of daring mystical interpretations of Scripture, entered a Paradise, representing different means of imaginative reading, perception, memory and application of the law. One of them died, one went mad, another became a heretic and the other came back as a traditional exegete and teacher.

Based on that legend, this book examines a small group of late 19th and early 20th century European Jewish intellectuals and artists in the light of their dreams, writings, and moments of crisis. These men and women, comedians in both the sense of stage actors and clowns or witty performers, believed they had entered a new secular and tolerant society, but discovered that there was no escape from their Jewish heritage and way of seeing the world. This monograph looks into the imperfect mirror of cultural experience, discovers a hazy world of illusions, dreams and nightmares on the other side of the looking glass, and sometimes constructs a midrashic conceit of the comical and grotesque screen between them.

To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:

Jews in an Illusion of Paradise Dust and Ashes Volume One—Comedians and Catastrophes can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.

For further information on placing an order for this title, please contact

About the Author

Norman Simms, during his academic career, has taught in New Zealand for more than forty years, as well as in Canada, France and Israel. He was one of the founding editors of the journal Mentalities/Mentalités. His latest books include a series of three studies on Alfred and Lucie Dreyfus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s