Volume 7 of the Posen Library captures unprecedented transformations of Jewish culture amid mass migration, global capitalism, nationalism, revolution, and the birth of the secular self
Between 1880 and 1918, traditions and regimes collapsed around the world, migration and imperialism remade the lives of millions, nationalism and secularization transformed selves and collectives, utopias beckoned, and new kinds of social conflict threatened as never before. Few communities experienced the pressures and possibilities of the era more profoundly than the world’s Jews. This volume, seventh in The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, recaptures the vibrant Jewish cultural creativity, political striving, social experimentation, and fractious religious and secular thought that burst forth in the face of these challenges.
Editors Israel Bartal and Kenneth B. Moss capture the full range of Jewish expression in a centrifugal age—from mystical visions to unabashedly antitraditional Jewish political thought, from cookbooks to literary criticism, from modernist poetry to vaudeville. They also highlight the most remarkable dimension of the 1880–1918 era: an audacious effort by newly secular Jews to replace Judaism itself with a new kind of Jewish culture centering on this-worldly, aesthetic creativity by a posited “Jewish nation” and the secular, modern, and “free” individuals who composed it. This volume is an essential starting point for anyone who wishes to understand the divided Jewish present.
Israel Bartal is professor of Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences. He is author of The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1772–1881 and Tangled Roots: The Emergence of Israeli Culture. He lives in Jerusalem, Israel. Kenneth B. Moss is Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Jewish History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution and An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland. He lives in Chicago, IL.
“A sweeping and penetrating survey of Jewish culture. As good, if not better, a survey of the historical context than the best textbooks and trade histories on the market.”—Jeffrey Veidlinger, University of Michigan
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