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Next Year in Marienbad: The Lost Worlds of Jewish Spa Culture (Jewish Culture & Contexts) [Hardcover]

Mirjam Zadoff , William Templer

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Book Description

26 Oct 2012 Jewish Culture & Contexts
From the last decades of the nineteenth century through the late 1930s, the West Bohemian spa towns of Carlsbad, Franzensbad, and Marienbad were fashionable destinations for visitors wishing to "take a cure"-to drink the waters, bathe in the mud, be treated by the latest X-ray, light, or gas therapies, or simply enjoy the respite afforded by elegant parks and comfortable lodgings. These were sociable and urbane places, settings for celebrity sightings, match-making, and stylish promenading. Originally the haunt of aristocrats, the spa towns came to be the favored summer resorts for the emerging bourgeoisie. Among the many who traveled there, a very high proportion were Jewish. In Next Year in Marienbad, Mirjam Zadoff writes the social and cultural history of Carlsbad, Franzensbad, and Marienbad as Jewish spaces. Secular and religious Jews from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds mingled in idyllic and often apolitical-seeming surroundings. During the season, shops sold Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers, kosher kitchens were opened, and theatrical presentations, concerts, and public readings catered to the Jewish clientele. Yet these same resorts were situated in a region of growing hostile nationalisms, and they were towns that might turn virulently anti-Semitic in the off season. Next Year in Marienbad draws from memoirs and letters, newspapers and maps, novels and postcards to create a compelling and engaging portrait of Jewish presence and cultural production in the years between the fin de siecle and the Second World War.

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"Next Year in Marienbad offers a fascinatingly erudite glimpse of the joys and sorrows of well-to-do Jews on holiday over a century ago."-The Forward "A charming, highly readable, and scholarly contribution to the cultural history of the Jewish bourgeoisie of central and eastern Europe. With wit and learning Mirjam Zadoff has elevated Marienbad to the rank of a Jewish 'lieu de memoire.'"-Saul Friedlander, University of California, Los Angeles "A rich tale beautifully told, Mirjam Zadoff's evocative study introduces us to the single most important recreational activity for modern Jews in Central Europe: their annual summer pilgrimage to take the waters at their favorite spa resorts. Zadoff's remarkable history of Jewish sociability introduces us to a Chaucerian parade of characters and transports us back to those spas, reanimating for the reader their long-gone social and cultural life and making it clear why Jews so eagerly looked forward to spending next year in Marienbad."-John M. Efron, University of California-Berkeley "A very engaging, interesting, suggestive, and important book. Next Year in Marienbad deals with three famous international spas and skillfully uses evidence from each of them to paint a broader picture of 'Jewish space' in European life between 1870 and 1938."-Marsha L. Rozenblit, University of Maryland

About the Author

Mirjam Zadoff teaches Jewish history and culture at the University of Munich. William Templer is Chief Translator at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture, University of Leipzig.

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