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Jewish Pasts, German FictionsHistory, Memory, and Minority Culture in Germany, 1824-1955$
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Jonathan Skolnik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804786072

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804786072.001.0001

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“Who learns history from Heine?”

“Who learns history from Heine?”

Wissenschaft des Judentums and Heinrich Heine's Der Rabbi von Bacherach (1840)

(p.45) Two “Who learns history from Heine?”
Jewish Pasts, German Fictions

Jonathan Skolnik

Stanford University Press

This chapter presents an important discovery about what is undoubtedly the best-known German-Jewish novel, Heinrich Heine's Der Rabbi von Bacherach (The Rabbi of Bacherach [1840]). Heine, who as an early member of the Verein für Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden, was a perceptive critic of the modernizing Jewish historians with whom he was in dialogue. Heine's text transforms a traditional mode of Jewish historical narrative (Haggadah) to posit a place for secular fiction as a modern form of cultural memory. The thematic tensions in Heine's novel (for example, the conflicts between myth and Enlightenment, and secular vs. religious identities) become productive models for many subsequent Jewish historical novels.

Keywords:   Heinrich Heine, historicism, Wissenschaft des Judentums

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