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Jews and Non-Jews: Memories and Interactions from the Perspective of Cultural Studies

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Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Jacek Partyka

The book adds new studies of memories and interactions between Jews and non-Jews to the historical and cultural research on this topic. It gathers in one volume the results of work by scholars from several countries, while the topics of the articles cover various disciplines: history, sociology, psychology, literary and language studies. The specific themes refer to the cultures and interactions with non-Jews in places such as Kiev, Vienna, Ireland, Springfield, Sosúa as well as reflect upon interactions in literary texts by Czesław Milosz and other Polish writers, some contemporary Jewish-American novelists and South American writers. Finally there are texts referring to the experience of the Holocaust and the post-Holocaust trauma as well as German-Israeli and Polish-Jewish relations and heritage.
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Viennese Culture in 1900: Bridging the Divide

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By and large, the historiography of Austrian Jews, but also generally all Central European Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries, is characterized by a one-sided perspective. It primarily traces entry by Jews into the ‘middle-class’ and the adoption of societally prevalent cultural standards, which can be classified as belonging to high culture (Storey 32–47). This narrative found its paradigmatic expression in Steven Beller’s book, Vienna and the Jews, in which he describes Jews’ contributions to high culture. Beller’s outstanding publication explains the reasons for the large share of Jews among the producers of Viennese fin-de-siècle culture. It is rightly considered to be a standard work on Austrian Jewry at the turn of the 20th century. Yet in his book the cultural articulations of everyday life have been omitted and references to popular culture are missing. Beller’s book gives the impression that Jews had nothing to do with the distractions and amusement of popular culture. The vast majority of other publications regarding the history of Austrian Jews also deal exclusively with high culture, that is, when they address cultural activities at all.1

There are only very few isolated works that focus on Jews in Viennese popular culture. Almost all of them deal with the field of music. Yet, they are largely ignored by historians of Viennese Jewry. These immensely insightful but widely neglected publications include, above all, works on Jewish Volkssänger and musicians of Wienerlieder as well as on Jargon theatres.2 Besides, a...

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