Catalogue

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Languages of community [electronic resource] : the Jewish experience in the Czech lands /
Hillel J. Kieval.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, 2000.
description
xi, 311 p. : map.
ISBN
0520214102 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
added author
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, 2000.
isbn
0520214102 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
8412645
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 285-306) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"An engaging and highly nuanced portrait of one of European Jewry's most interesting but least known communities. . . . Kieval has a masterful command of a century and a half of Czech Jewish history, which he brings to bear in a sophisticated manner. "--David Sorkin, author ofMoses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment "Uniformly erudite, yet readable and lively. . . . The book will be widely read not only by historians of modern Jewry but by all those interested in the tortured and difficult path of this part of Europe towards the creation of a plural and civil society."--Antony Polonsky, editor ofPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry
Flap Copy
"An engaging and highly nuanced portrait of one of European Jewry's most interesting but least known communities. . . . Kieval has a masterful command of a century and a half of Czech Jewish history, which he brings to bear in a sophisticated manner. "--David Sorkin, author of Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment "Uniformly erudite, yet readable and lively. . . . The book will be widely read not only by historians of modern Jewry but by all those interested in the tortured and difficult path of this part of Europe towards the creation of a plural and civil society."--Antony Polonsky, editor of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-06-01:
Although much material in this book has previously been published, Kieval (Washington Univ., St. Louis) reshapes it into a compelling treatment of Jewish life in the Czech lands from the late 18th into the 20th century (skipping the WW II period). He explores the ways Jews identified themselves individually and collectively, effectively using the reality and metaphor of language (which vernacular was "best") to reveal the way events were interpreted and understood by both Jews and non-Jews. The stable community of the generations before 1780 gave way in the face of modernization to problems that required choices regarding mobility, integration, and the construction of new ethnic, political, and cultural identities. Kieval's arguments are subtly developed, and he uses telling detail and example to illustrate his larger points. Chapters on the story of the Golem, conflicting interpretations of Czech-Jewish history, educational choice, political discourse and charges of Jewish "ritual murder," and the problem of identity and involvement in the independent Czech state of the 20th century are particularly strong. Fifty pages of notes and an extensive bibliography reveal the scholarship and erudition of this volume. For all collections. P. W. Knoll University of Southern California
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2001
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Summaries
Long Description
With a keen eye for revealing details, Hillel J. Kieval examines the contours and distinctive features of Jewish experience in the lands of Bohemia and Moravia (the present-day Czech Republic), from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. In the Czech lands, Kieval writes, Jews have felt the need constantly to define and articulate the nature of group identity, cultural loyalty, memory, and social cohesiveness, and the period of "modernizing" absolutism, which began in 1780, brought changes of enormous significance. From that time forward, new relationships with Gentile society and with the culture of the state blurred the traditional outlines of community and individual identity. Kieval navigates skillfully among histories and myths as well as demography, biography, culture, and politics, illuminating the maze of allegiances and alliances that have molded the Jewish experience during these 200 years.
Main Description
Languages of Community explores various dimensions of the Jewish historical experience in what is now the Czech republic, from enlightened absolutism (the reign of Joseph II) to the 20th century.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction Language, Community, and Experiencep. 1
The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia to 1918p. 10
Enlightenment and Tradition in Jewish Prague, 1780-1830p. 37
Intellectuals and Community in the 1840sp. 65
Jewish Culture and the Invention of a Traditionp. 95
On Myth, History, and National Belonging in the Nineteenth Centuryp. 114
Germans, Czechs, and Jewsp. 135
Fashioning a Czech Judaism at the Turn of the Centuryp. 159
Ritual Murder as Political Discourse in the Czech Landsp. 181
The Ambiguities of Friendshipp. 198
Epilogue: A Sitting Room in Praguep. 217
Appendix: Panorama Des Universums, Vol. 8 [1841]p. 231
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 285
Indexp. 307
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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