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Jewish Primitivism$
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Samuel J. Spinner

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781503628274

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503628274.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

The Beginnings of Jewish Primitivism

The Beginnings of Jewish Primitivism

Folklorism and Peretz

(p.21) Chapter 1 The Beginnings of Jewish Primitivism
Jewish Primitivism

Samuel J. Spinner

Stanford University Press

Chapter 1 shows how an incipient Jewish literary modernism based on the aesthetics of romantic nationalism was challenged by the emergence of avant-garde primitivist critique. The folklore-inspired Jewish literature of the turn of the twentieth century was influential culturally and politically, in its contribution to the formation of a modern Jewish literary canon. But it also prompted a backlash by members of the avant-garde who cast the Herderian folklorism of the neo-Romantics as mere “stylization” and called for the aesthetic, but not its subject matter, to be discarded. This critique opened the door to a Jewish primitivism that sought to push beyond neo-Romantic aesthetics while remaining ambivalent about its ethno-nationalist politics.

Keywords:   romantic nationalism, folklore, Hasidism, stylization, Y. L. Peretz, folklorism, Khsidish

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