The Posen Library of Jew­ish Cul­ture and Civ­i­liza­tion, Vol­ume 10: 1973 – 2005

Deb­o­rah Dash Moore and Nurith Gertz, eds.
  • Review
By – February 19, 2013

Edit­ed by Deb­o­rah Dash Moore and Nurith Gertz, Vol­ume 10 of this invalu­able guide to Jew­ish cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion deals with the years 1973 – 2005. In his intro­duc­tion to the vol­ume, the over­all edi­tor of the project, James E. Young, states that the cen­tral objec­tive of the ref­er­ence work is to cre­ate a sin­gle, usable col­lec­tion that the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of schol­ars agrees best rep­re­sents Jew­ish cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion in their his­tor­i­cal and glob­al entire­ty.” The edi­tors also sought to estab­lish a plu­ral­is­tic def­i­n­i­tion of Jew­ish cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion as well as to pro­vide a work­ing antho­log­i­cal lega­cy, in which future gen­er­a­tions of Jews will come to under­stand the past and present con­tri­bu­tions of the Jew­ish peo­ple. Admit­ted­ly an ambi­tious task, the edi­tors have assem­bled brief biogra­phies of famous and not so famous per­son­al­i­ties in such fields as lit­er­a­ture (includ­ing children’s and young adult), poet­ry, dra­ma, both pop­u­lar and intel­lec­tu­al cul­ture, as well as a sec­tion on spir­i­tu­al cul­ture, which con­tains sub­sec­tions of reli­gious com­men­tary and litur­gy, among its many top­ics.

In chrono­log­i­cal order, each entry is rep­re­sent­ed by brief bio­graph­i­cal infor­ma­tion about the author, and an excerpt from his/​her work writ­ten dur­ing that year. Exam­ples for the year 1973 include Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift and Eri­ca Jong’s Fear of Fly­ing. The lit­tle known Ital­ian nov­el­ist and short sto­ry writer Elsa Morante’s His­to­ry: A Nov­el is list­ed with Cana­di­an writer Adele Wiseman’s nov­el Crack­pot. Both nov­els were writ­ten in 1974. The entries for 1975 include Rag­time by E.L. Doc­torow; the Russ­ian writer and crit­ic Yury Karabchievskii’s The Life of Alexan­der Zil­ber, andPri­mo Levis The Peri­od­ic Table. The same for­mat is used through­out the ref­er­ence vol­ume, which also includes pho­tos and an exten­sive bib­li­og­ra­phy.

This is a valu­able anthol­o­gy of Jew­ish cul­ture and civ­i­liza­tion. It should find its place in research insti­tu­tions as well as in the Judaica sec­tions of uni­ver­si­ty and pub­lic libraries.

Jack Fis­chel is pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus of his­to­ry at Millersville Uni­ver­si­ty, Millersville, PA and author of The Holo­caust (Green­wood Press) and His­tor­i­cal Dic­tio­nary of the Holo­caust (Row­man and Littlefield).

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