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Other titles in the Stanford Studies in Jewish History & Culture series:
Memoirs of a Grandmother: Scenes from the Cultural History of the Jews of Russia in the Nineteenth Century, Volume Two (Stanford Studies in Jewish History and C)by Pauline Wengeroff
Synopses & Reviews
Pauline Wengeroff's Memoirs of a Grandmother offers a unique first-person window into traditionalism, modernity, and the tensions linking the two in nineteenth-century Russia. Wengeroff (18331916), a perceptive, highly literate social observer, tells a gripping tale of cultural transformation, situating her narrative in the experience of women and families.
In Volume Two, Wengeroff claims that Jewish women were capable and desirous of adopting the best of European modernity but were also wedded to tradition, while Jewish men recklessly abandoned tradition and forced their wives to do the same. The result was not only marital and intergenerational conflict but also catastrophic cultural loss, with women's inability to transmit tradition in the home leading to larger cultural drift. Two of Wengeroff's children converted when faced with anti-Jewish educational and professional discrimination, unwilling to sacrifice secular ambitions and visions for the sake of a traditional culture they did not know. Memoirs is a tale of loss but also of significant hope, which Wengeroff situates not in her children but in a new generation of Jewish youth reclaiming Jewish memory. To them, she addresses her Memoirs, giving an "orphaned youth"—orphaned of their past and culture—a "grandmother."
This is the second volume of an unabridged, critical edition of Pauline Wengeroff's Memoirs of a Grandmother, the only full-scale memoir by a woman to chronicle Russian Jewish society's shift from traditionalism to modernity through the experience of women and families.
About the Author
Shulamit S. Magnus is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. Her edition of the first volume of Wengeroff's Memoirs of a Grandmother won the National Jewish Book Award for Women's Studies (2011).
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