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David Golder

· The novel ·

When Irène Nemirovsky wrote her short story David Golder (1929) she was accused of anti-Semitism. Indeed the main character is an elderly Jew who had been a rag and bones man in New York but, with recourse to every kind of unscrupulousness became enormously rich. In fact the author, who was Jewish herself and died in a concentration camp, obviously had no anti-Semitic intentions; rather, she wanted to write a bold, profound and cruel story about money. It is money that motivates every move of the old financier who sacrificed everything to his god: love, friendship, feelings, and his very life, until he found himself alone, facing death surrounded by hatred. For Golder money is not only a means for living and living better, not only an instrument for achieving a better future. Money is not, as in the Protestant ethic delineated by Weber, the demonstration of one’s own worth or of God’s goodness: money has a value in itself that has almost nothing to do with the way it is used and with the consequences that this use can lead to. The book can be read today as a metaphor of the unscrupulous world of finance where money produces and reproduces itself, annihilating every form of humanity. (@ritannaarmeni)

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