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Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna

By Alison Rose

Publication Year: 2008

Despite much study of Viennese culture and Judaism between 1890 and 1914, little research has been done to examine the role of Jewish women in this milieu. Rescuing a lost legacy, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna explores the myriad ways in which Jewish women contributed to the development of Viennese culture and participated widely in politics and cultural spheres. Areas of exploration include the education and family lives of Viennese Jewish girls and varying degrees of involvement of Jewish women in philanthropy and prayer, university life, Zionism, psychoanalysis and medicine, literature, and culture. Incorporating general studies of Austrian women during this period, Alison Rose also presents significant findings regarding stereotypes of Jewish gender and sexuality and the politics of anti-Semitism, as well as the impact of German culture, feminist dialogues, and bourgeois self-images. As members of two minority groups, Viennese Jewish women nonetheless used their involvement in various movements to come to terms with their dual identity during this period of profound social turmoil. Breaking new ground in the study of perceptions and realities within a pivotal segment of the Viennese population, Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna applies the lens of gender in important new ways.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Series: Jewish Life, History, and Culture


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

During the course of my research and writing on Jewish women in fin de si

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pp. 1-7

In fin de siècle Vienna, Jewish women figured prominently as heroines and victims in Jewish tales of the ghetto and as subjects of Freud’s most famous case studies of hysteria. They attended the University of Vienna when it opened its doors to women, built new and progressive schools, organized more than a dozen charity societies, and joined po-...

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1. Childhood and Youth of Jewish Girls

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pp. 9-41

In her memoirs, the Viennese Jewish socialist, sociologist, and advocate for working women, Käthe Leichter (Marianne Katharina Pick) (1895–1942), recalled that her appearance—lanky, with long blond braids and gray eyes in a rosy-cheeked, boyish face—helped her, but that she did more than necessary in order to fit in. ...

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2. Community, Spirituality, and Philanthropy

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pp. 43-86

Recent historical works on Jewish women have argued that in Western Europe, women held on to Jewish religious practices in the home long after most Jewish men had abandoned traditional Jewish culture.1 In Eastern Europe, on the other hand, where assimilation did not threaten Jewish group survival, women remained ethnically Jew-...

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3. University and Political Involvement

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pp. 87-107

Viennese Jewish women who entered the University as well as those who entered politics differed from those who looked to the community and spirituality as the means to negotiate their way into modernity. However, both groups clearly shared a tendency to combine modern and traditional values and to attract attention and sometimes criti-...

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4. Women and the Zionist Movement

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pp. 109-140

In an address before the Women’s Zionist Association in Vienna in 1901 (Wiener Zionistische Frauenverein) Theodor Herzl (1860–1904), the founder of political Zionism, declared that women had not contributed significantly to the Zionist cause.1 He began the speech (which he described in his diary as “a rather absent-minded lecture”)2...

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5. Medicine and Psychoanalysis

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pp. 141-180

Writing about the sexual development of girls in 1923, Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the father of psychoanalysis, asserted that “unfortunately we can describe this state of things [the development of sexuality] only as it affects the male child; the corresponding processes in the little girl are not known to us.”1 ...

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6. Literature and Culture

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pp. 181-217

The flourishing of Viennese culture at the turn of the century has been the subject of many works, and the Jews’ role in this phenomenon has commanded a great deal of attention as well.1 Despite the extensive treatment of these topics, the role of the Jewish woman in Viennese culture has not been adequately addressed. ...

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pp. 219-221

Since the publication of Carl Schorske’s Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture, historians have discussed and debated his thesis and have focused on his analysis of liberalism, the relationship of politics and culture, and his understanding of modern culture, for which the culture of fin de siècle Vienna is seen as paradigmatic.1 ...


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pp. 223-260


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pp. 261-293


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pp. 295-314

E-ISBN-13: 9780292794283
E-ISBN-10: 0292794282
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292718616
Print-ISBN-10: 0292718616

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 15 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Jewish Life, History, and Culture
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OCLC Number: 311054052
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Jewish Women in Fin de Siècle Vienna

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Austria -- Vienna -- History -- 19th century.
  • Jews -- Austria -- Vienna -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jewish women -- Austria -- Vienna -- Social life and customs -- 19th century.
  • Jewish women -- Austria -- Vienna -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
  • Jewish women -- Austria -- Vienna -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • Jewish women -- Austria -- Vienna -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Jewish women -- Education -- Austria -- Vienna.
  • Jews -- Austria -- Vienna -- Identity.
  • Vienna (Austria) -- Ethnic relations.
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