Bringing together contributions by historians and literary scholars, Culture Front explores how Jews and their Slavic neighbors produced and consumed imaginative representations of Jewish life in chronicles, plays, novels, poetry, memoirs, museums, and elsewhere.
2008 | 336 pages | Cloth $65.00
Religion | History
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Table of Contents
—David B. Ruderman
Introduction: A New Look at East European Jewish Culture
—Benjamin Nathans and Gabriella Safran
PART I. VIOLENCE AND CIVILITY
1. Jewish Literary Responses to the Events of 1648-1649 and the Creation of a Polish-
2. "Civil Christians": Debates on the Reform of the Jews in Poland, 1789-1830
PART II. MIRRORS OF POPULAR CULTURE
3. The Botched Kiss and the Beginnings of the Yiddish Stage
4. The Polish Popular Novel and Jewish Modernization at the End of the Nineteenth and Beginning of the Twentieth Centuries
5. Cul-de-Sac: The "Inner Life of Jews" on the Fin-de-Siècle Polish Stage
—Michael C. Steinlauf
PART III. POLITICS AND AESTHETICS
6. Yosef Haim Brenner, the "Half-Intelligentsia," and Russian-Jewish Politics, 1899-1908
7. Recreating Jewish Identity in Haim Nahman Bialik's Poems: The Russian Context
8. Not The Dybbuk but Don Quixote: Translation, Deparochialization, and Nationalism in Jewish Culture, 1917-1919
9. Beyond the Purim-shpil: Reinventing the Scroll of Esther in Modern Yiddish Poems
PART IV. MEMORY PROJECTS
10. Revealing and Concealing the Soviet Jewish Self: The Desk-Drawer Memoirs of Meir Viner
11. The Shtetl Subjunctive: Yaffa Eliach's Living History Museum
List of Contributors
This volume originated in the 2002-3 academic year of study at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania, organized around the topic of East European Jewry. Benjamin Nathans of the University of Pennsylvania was the primary force in proposing the program, running its weekly seminars, and planning the concluding conference. We are all indebted to him and to his editorial partner, Gabriella Safran of Stanford University, one of our visiting fellows for the year, for conceptualizing the book at hand and for bringing it to completion.
The twenty scholars in residence at the Center for all or part of the year included many of the major senior figures along with some of the most interesting younger people working on the history, arts, and culture of the Jews of Eastern Europe. The group was, as always, an international one, with fellows from North America, Israel, and Europe, east and west. Most were historians, though there was significant representation by scholars of Yiddish, Hebrew, and Russian literature. The formal weekly seminars were supplemented by smaller reading groups, including one focusing on Yiddish literature and run entirely in that language.
Some sixty years after the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe were almost eradicated by the Holocaust, the study of their culture and history is thriving, and we all came to realize that the activities of the Center represented a celebration of this renaissance. Our scholarly exchanges, and the book that emerged from them, provide ample testimony to the field's renewed vitality. I am most appreciative of all who participated in our year-long project and especially of those who have agreed to have their essays appear in this volume.