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146 SHOFAR Summer 1996 Vol. 14, No.4 Still, Reinhard Voigt deals ably with Wolpe's Palestinian songs, and Peter Petersen refers explicitly to Dessau's Jewish background also in terms of his melodic heritage. In striking contrast to the editorial bias of the preface, the remaining nearly five hundred pages are in fact remarkably free of prejudice. All in all, therefore, this volume does represent an honest, though but partially successful, attempt at Wiedergutmacbung in an area of human endeavor which, as the Nazis never ceased to complain, offered musically gifted Jews over a period of barely one hundred years creative opportunities that spread Central Europe's artistic fame all over the civilized world but in the process also planted the unsuspected seeds of their ultimate misfortune. Alexander 1. Ringer School of Music University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Between Two Worlds: A Cultural History ofGerman-Jewish Writers, by Lothar Kahn, with the assistance of Donald D. Hook. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1993. 323 pp. $42.95. Because Lothar Kahn could not finish his literary history of Jewish writers in the German tongue before his death in 1990, it fell to his colleague Donald D. Hook to prepare for publication the manuscript of this ambitious work. These infelicitous circumstances taken into account, the reader and reviewer will still find that the book provides a research tool that gives fundamental outlines of major works and brief biographical sketches of "writers of full or partial]ewish origin" (p. xi). Not confining himself to a mere compilation of names and dates (although such a dictionary of Jewish writing in German remains a desideratum), Kahn "tries to determine whether any common bonds united the writers who played a vital role in the last century and a half ofGerman cultural life" (p. xi). Kahn's project is probably the most difficult enterprise that German Studies has to address. Its realization will depend on the successful integration of various theoretical and socio-historical facts and approaches to which Kahn could not fully render justice. The quotation of Martin Buber's famous assessment of the productive "symbiosis of German and Jewish Wesen," for instance, needs to be echoed by Gershom Scholem's pessimistic refutation. Book Reviews 147 .The organizing principle of the book is a division of the writers into three groups whicJ:t Kahn sees emergingwith the Enlightenment and which he traces into the present. The "centrist group" "accepted its Jewishness as another fact of existence to which its members needed to adjust" (p. xiv); the "defensive-aggressors" "gave up on full acceptance and converted its awareness into a defiant attitude toward Germans and Jews alike" (p. xiv); and the "defensive-apologists" would never give up the "attempt to persuade Germans that Jews were virtuous, and deserving, and eager to blend into the landscape and make a contribution" (p. xiv). However, the author avoids the temptation of pushing this categorization of attitudes towards the authors' Jewish background and gentile society too far. Instead, Kahn attempts to take into account that in many cases these attitudes changed several times during the life of many of these authors; often, their programmatic statements are difficult to reconcile with their literary production or even with their lifestyle. Proceeding chronologically, Kahn's first chapter begins with Moses Mendelssohn, and the last chapter of the book introduces Jewish writers after the Shoah, primarily those of the generation of survivors. Within the four chapters, the categorization of the immensely multifaceted writing sometimes seems rather arbitrary (the final chapter, for example, addresses "assorted writers" next to "socialists" and "minor writers"). Yet this does not obfuscate the main rationale of the project. Kahn lays the groundwork for a comprehensive literary history of Jewish writers in theĀ· German language which then would pay more attention to writers who have been working outside of the centers of intellectual discourse. To point to just two such groups: Jewish writing in German Bukowina's capital Czernowitz is represented only via Paul Celan (who, oddly enough, is omitted in the appended bibliography), whereas his contemporaries Moses Rosenkranz, Alfred Kittner, Immanuel WeiBglas, Alfred Gong, and Rose Auslander remain unmentioned. The literary production of Jewish women writers over the centuries...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 146-148
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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