February 14, 2019
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.11 Pounds (US)
$46.00 USD, £36.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Jewish Difference and the Arts in Vienna

Composing Compassion in Music and Biblical Theater

During the mid-19th century, the works of Arthur Schopenhauer and Richard Wagner sparked an impulse toward German cultural renewal and social change that drew on religious myth, metaphysics, and spiritualism. The only problem was that their works were deeply antisemitic and entangled with claims that Jews were incapable of creating compassionate art. By looking at the works of Jewish composers and writers who contributed to a lively and robust biblical theatre in fin de siècle Vienna, Caroline A. Kita shows how they reimagined myths of the Old Testament to offer new aesthetic and ethical views of compassion. These Jewish artists, including Gustav Mahler, Siegfried Lipiner, Richard Beer-Hofmann, Stefan Zweig, and Arnold Schoenberg, reimagined biblical stories through the lens of the modern Jewish subject to plead for justice and compassion toward the Jewish community. By tracing responses to antisemitic discourses of compassion, Kita reflects on the explicitly and increasingly troubled political and social dynamics at the end of the Habsburg Empire.

About the Author

Caroline A. Kita is Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis.


"Caroline A. Kita offers fascinating discussions of dissonance and cacophony andhow they are associated with Jews. She sheds new light on how Viennese Jewish composers used musical and narrative strategies to generate models of compassionate community that recognize and overcome this dissonance to envision new forms of religious understanding for the modern era."—Jonathan M. Hess, author of Deborah and Her Sisters

"Caroline A. Kita's book brings to life a circle of writers and composers, with analyses of their major, minor, fragmentary, and forgotten works of Jewish music theater, who lived and wrote in early-20th century Vienna. . . . unexpected and original."—Abigail Gillman, author of Viennese Jewish Modernism

"Given the variety of artistic works examined, this will surely be useful to the likely graduate students who will use this work."—Association of Jewish Libraries

"In her epilogue, Kita makes a convincing case for the continued need for compas- sionate art in our own time, as the works explored in this volume serve as testaments of the transformative potential of such art, ultimately "offering hope and comfort in our shared humanity" (166). In addition to serving as a valuable contribution to German Jewish studies, Jewish Difference and the Arts in Vienna offers a new framework for reading fin-de-siècle Viennese literature and culture and will thus be of interest to Germanists and musicologists alike."—German Studies Review

"This book is a true testament to the idea that the musical notes on a page are the result of a human story. In this case, the human story behind the works of these composers is both complicated and compassionate in a variety of ways."—Karen L. Uslin - Rowan University, AJS Review

9780253040534 : jewish-difference-and-the-arts-in-vienna-kita
222 Pages
$46.00 USD

Other Titles from German Jewish Cultures

"We Will Never Yield"

David A. Meola
Apr 2023 - Indiana University Press
$80.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Making German Jewish Literature Anew

Katja Garloff
Dec 2022 - Indiana University Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin

Marc Caplan
Jan 2021 - Indiana University Press
$95.00 USD - Hardback
$40.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism

Under the Greenwood Tree

Tracy E. K'Meyer
Feb 2024 - University Press of Kentucky
$70.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$70.00 USD - Electronic book text

Madness at the Movies

James Charney, MD
Jan 2023 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$39.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$39.95 USD - Electronic book text

Canadian Performance Documents and Debates

edited by Anthony J. Vickery, Glen F. Nichols, Allana C. Lindgren, foreword by Jerry Wasserman
Aug 2022 - University of Alberta Press
$79.99 USD - Paperback / softback