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Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation

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Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of In Search of Zarathustra— an illuminating chronicle of Yiddish civilization from its roots in the Diaspora to the present.

Paul Kriwaczek begins his search when Jewish culture first spreads to Europe during the Roman Empire after the end of ancient Jerusalem and the destruction of its Temple at the hands of the Romans in the year 70. We see the burgeoning exile population disperse, moving outward and northward throughout the following centuries, making their mark in more far flung cities under Roman rule. We see these communities settle and coalesce until in 1264 the Statute of Kalisz lays down a general charter of Jewish Liberties, establishing the legal foundation of a separate, self-governing Yiddish world. It is now the treks that begin from the Rhineland and Bavaria to Western Russia and the Ukraine. By its late-medieval heyday, this economically successful, intellectually adventurous, and largely self-ruling Yiddish society stretches from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

Providing a rich portrait of Yiddish civilization, Kriwaczek reflects upon the development of Yiddish language, occupations, social life, art, music, and literature, and introduces us to notable diplomats, artists, and thinkers: from the “Court Jews” of 17th- century Europe to Glikl of Hamelins, who wrote the first great Yiddish autobiography, to Moses Mendelssohn, the 18th-century philosopher and musician, to the great writers of the late 19th and 20th centuries, Sholem Aleichem and I.B. Singer among them. He chronicles the slow decline of Yiddish culture in Europe and Russia, beginning in the 17th century with the Chmielnicki Massacres in the Ukraine and culminating in the Holocaust, but looks further to fresh offshoots in the New World.

Combining intimate family anecdote, travelogue, historical research, and interviews with scholars, Kriwaczek retraces the history of this nearly extinguished civilization to give us a celebration of what remains of Yiddish culture in our own time.

Synopsis:

Paul Kriwaczek begins this illuminating and immensely pleasurable chronicle of Yiddish civilization during the Roman empire, when Jewish culture first spread to Europe. We see the burgeoning exile populationdisperse, as its notable diplomats, artists and thinkers make their mark in far-flung cities and found a self-governing Yiddish world. By its late-medieval heyday, this economically successful, intellectually adventurous, and self-aware society stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kriwaczek traces, too, the slow decline of Yiddish culture in Europe and Russia, and highlights fresh offshoots in the New World.Combining familyanecdote, travelogue, original research, and a keen understanding of Yiddish art and literature, Kriwaczek gives us an exceptional portrait of a culture which, though nearly extinguished, has an influential radiancestill.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Synopsis:

Describes the origins and evolution of Yiddish culture from the thirteenth century to the present, including the development of Yiddish language, social life, art, literature, music, and occupations.

About the Author

Paul Kriwaczek was born in Vienna in 1937 and, with his parents, narrowly escaped the Nazis in 1939, fleeing first to Switzerland and then to England. He grew up in London and graduated from London Hospital Medical College. After several years spent working and traveling in the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, he joined the BBC, where he spent the next quarter of a century as a program producer and filmmaker. Since leaving television in the 1990s, he has devoted himself to writing full-time, catching up on the unfinished business of a life spent exploring places, times, and ideas. He is married and lives in London.

Paul Kriwaczek’s In Search of Zarathustra is available in Vintage paperback.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Bist a Yid? --Roots Schmoots! --Nostalgie de la Boue — 2. The Jews of Rome
  2. A Basket and a Truss of Hay — 3. From the Mediterranean to the Baltic
  3. As Strange as a Circumcised Unicorn
  4. Sennan and Zippan — 4. The Remaking of Western Europe
  5. Charles's Elephant
  6. New Borders, New Allegiances
  7. Drang Nach Osten — 5. At the Crossroads
  8. In Every Castle a King
  9. A Blessing Upon Mieszko, King of Poland — 6. The New Yiddish World
  10. The Language
  11. The Literature
  12. The Religion
  13. The Scholarly Tradition — 7. Political Consolidation
  14. Landowners, Merchants, Artisans, Servants a the Jewish Inn — 8. The Reformation
  15. Hussites
  16. Luther
  17. Now a Miracle Happened — 9. The Yiddish Renaissance
  18. Cracow
  19. Prague
  20. Dovid Gans — 10. Wide Horizons
  21. Wealth and Honour
  22. The Great Divide — 11. The Deluge
  23. The Cossacks
  24. Poverty and Disgrace — 12. Decline . . . --Who Permits the Forbidden
  25. The Holy Creed of Edom
  26. The Famous Ba'al Shem Tov, May His Light Long Shine
  27. Oppose Them Strongly — 13. . . . and Fall
  28. The Jewish Problem
  29. Words That Fall on Us Like Lashes
  30. Shakespearean Tragedy — 14. A Winter Flowering.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307430335
Subtitle:
The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf
Author:
Kriwaczek, Paul
Author:
Paul Kriwaczek
Subject:
History : Jewish - General
Subject:
History : Military - World War I
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
Military - World War I
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
History
Subject:
Yiddish language -- History.
Subject:
Jews - Europe, Central - Civilization
Subject:
Jewish
Subject:
Judaism - General
Subject:
Judaism - History
Subject:
Judaism-Thought and Culture
Subject:
Religion Western-Jewish History
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20051018
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
357

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » Jewish Studies
Religion » Judaism » History

Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation
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Product details 357 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307430335 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Paul Kriwaczek begins this illuminating and immensely pleasurable chronicle of Yiddish civilization during the Roman empire, when Jewish culture first spread to Europe. We see the burgeoning exile populationdisperse, as its notable diplomats, artists and thinkers make their mark in far-flung cities and found a self-governing Yiddish world. By its late-medieval heyday, this economically successful, intellectually adventurous, and self-aware society stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Kriwaczek traces, too, the slow decline of Yiddish culture in Europe and Russia, and highlights fresh offshoots in the New World.Combining familyanecdote, travelogue, original research, and a keen understanding of Yiddish art and literature, Kriwaczek gives us an exceptional portrait of a culture which, though nearly extinguished, has an influential radiancestill.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

"Synopsis" by , Describes the origins and evolution of Yiddish culture from the thirteenth century to the present, including the development of Yiddish language, social life, art, literature, music, and occupations.
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