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Hebrew Literature and the 1948 War

Essays on Philology and Responsibility

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Hannan Hever

Hebrew Literature and the 1948 War: Essays on Philology and Responsibility is the first book-length study that examines the conspicuous absence of the Palestinian Nakba in modern Hebrew literature. Through a rigorous reading of canonical Hebrew literary texts, the author addresses the general failure of Hebrew literature to take responsibility for the Nakba. The book illustrates how the language of modern Hebrew poetry and fiction reflects symptoms of Israeli national violence, in which the literary language produces a picture of Palestine as an arena where the violent clash between the perpetrators and the victims takes place. In doing so, the author develops a new and critical paradigm for reflecting on the moral responsibility of literature and the ethics of reading. The book includes close readings of the works of Avot Yeshurun, S. Yizhar, Nathan Alterman, Yehuda Amichai, Yitzhak Laor, and Amos Oz, among others.

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A Jewish Communist in Weimar Germany

The Life of Werner Scholem (1895 – 1940)

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Ralf Hoffrogge

Walter Benjamin derided Werner Scholem as a ‘rogue’ in 1924. Josef Stalin referred him as a ‘splendid man’, but soon backtracked and labeled him an ‘imbecile’, while Ernst Thälmann, chairman of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), warned his followers against the dangers of ‘Scholemism’. For the philosopher and historian Gershom Scholem, however, Werner was first and foremost his older brother. The life of German-Jewish Communist Werner Scholem (1895–1940) had many facets. Werner and Gerhard, later Gershom, rebelled together against their authoritarian father and the atmosphere of national chauvinism engulfing Germany during World War I. After inspiring his younger brother to take up the Zionist cause, Werner himself underwent a long personal journey before deciding to join the Communist struggle. Scholem climbed the party ladder and orchestrated the KPD's ‘Bolshevisation’ campaign, only to be expelled as one of Stalin's opponents in 1926. He was arrested in 1933, and ultimately murdered in the Buchenwald concentration camp seven years later. This first biography of Werner Scholem tells his life story by drawing on a wide range of original sources and archive material long hidden beyond the Iron Curtain of the Cold War era.

First published in German by UVK Verlagsgesellschaft as Werner Scholem - eine politische Biographie (1895-1940), Konstanz, 2014.
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The Crown, the Court and the Casa da Índia

Political Centralization in Portugal 1479-1521

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Susannah Ferreira

In The Crown, the Court and the Casa da Índia, Susannah Humble Ferreira examines the social and political context that gave rise to the Portuguese Overseas Empire during the reigns of João II (1481-95) and Manuel I (1495-1521). In particular the book elucidates the role of the Portuguese royal household in the political consolidation of Portugal in this period. By looking at the relationship of the Manueline Reforms, the expulsion of the Jews and the creation of the Santa Casa da Misericordia to the political threat brought on by the expansion of Ferdinand of Aragon into the Mediterranean, the author re-evaluates the place of the overseas expansion in the policies of the Portuguese crown.
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Simon Kitson

Simon Kitson's Police and Politics in Marseille, 1936-1945 offers a ’history from below’ analysis of the attitude of the Marseille Police between the Popular Front and the Liberation of France. Kitson highlights the specificities of policing France’s largest port: clientelism, corruption, a floating population and high levels of criminality, including organised crime. But he also demonstrates why many of his conclusions about Police attitude can be generalised to other parts of France and, in so doing, challenges many of the assumptions of the existing historiography. Although they zealously hunted down Jews and communists, the Police were not as reliable for the Vichy government as is commonly assumed and were, undoubtedly, far more involved in Resistance than most sectors of society.