Bloy, Léon°

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BLOY, LÉON° (1846–1917), French Catholic writer whose work contained many Jewish themes. His prose poem, Le salut par les Juifs (1892), described by the author as the "only one of my books I would dare to present to God," opens with a condemnation of antisemitism and its arch-priest, Edouard *Drumont. However, holding a theory of the identity of opposites, Bloy regards the Jews as both glorious and despicable, at one and the same time the elect of God and "une poignée de boue merveilleuse" ("a handful of wonderful mud"). Among Bloy's later writings, Le Sang du Pauvre (1909) contains a moving chapter devoted to the Yiddish poet, Morris *Rosenfeld. Those whom he converted to Catholicism included Jacques and Ráïssa *Maritain.


A. Béguin, Léon Bloy, a Study in Impatience (1947); J. Petit, Léon Bloy (Fr., 1966), incl. bibl.; R. Maritain, Les grandes amitiés (1941–44); C. Journet, Destinées d'Israël à propos du Salut par les Juifs (1945).

[Denise R. Goitein]