Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History

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This book studies the role played by Jews in the explosion of cultural innovation in Vienna at the turn of the century, which had its roots in the years following the Ausgleich of 1867 and its demise in the sweeping events of the 1930s. The author shows that, in terms of personnel, Jews were predominant throughout most of Viennese high culture, and so any attempts to dismiss the "Jewish aspect" of the intelligentsia are refuted. The book goes on to explain this "Jewish aspect," dismissing any unitary, static model and adopting a historical approach that sees the "Jewishness" of Viennese modern culture as a result of the specific Jewish backgrounds of most of the leading cultural figures and their reactions to being Jewish.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The solidity of his research, clarity and sophistication of his argumentation, and...felicity of his style combine to produce a book from which one can learn much and with pleasure." Mark Webber, Canadian Journal of History

"...this work commands enormous respect for its percipient and sensitive handling of an outstanding generation of Jews." L'Eylah

"Beller's is a bold, exciting, and largely convincing attempt to explain content in terms of origins. It is not the last word, but it will take its place as a major contribution." London Review of Books

"The book blossoms into a lucid, intellectual study, culminating in a discussion of the ethical links between the work of Arnold Schönberg, Karl Kraus and Ludwig Wittgenstein...the argument is exciting." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"The importance of Jews in Vienna's cultural life has often been noted, but Steven Beller is the first to offer a statistical analysis and breakdown." Dana Mack, Commentary

"...a well researched book that offers some pertinent information about an intellectually exciting and confusing period of time." Glenn R. Sharfman, Jewish Quarterly Review

On the history of Austrian Jews from their flourishing under Emperor Franz Joseph, through World War I and the Hitler years, to the election of Kurt Waldheim. Describes the rapid rise and tragic extinction of the greatest Jewish community of its time. Beller research fellow, Cambridge U. studies the role played by Jews in the explosion of cultural innovation in Vienna at the turn of the century. He views the result of the Jewish backgrounds of most of the leading cultural figures and their reactions to being Jewish. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521407274
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables; Preface; Introduction; Part I. Jews in Viennese Culture and Society: The Statistical Perspective: 1. Who was a Jew in Vienna at the turn of the century?; 2. How Jewish was fin-de-siècle Vienna?; 3. The social context; 4. Education and class - the position of the Jews in Viennese society; Part II. The Jewish Background to Viennese Culture: 5. Jewish consciousness: Jewish mind?; 6. The distance from tradition; 7. Education; 8. Ethics and the individual; 9. The Enlightenment; 10. German culture; 11. Vienna; 12. Antisemitism; 13. The ethics of outsiders: the cultural response; Conclusion: Vienna and the Jews in perspective; Bibliography; Index.

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