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Chapter Three Young Dubnow as a Jewish Positivist

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Chapter Summary

Dubnow's remark that "a whole generation of intellectuals was educated on the central organ of Russian-Jewish literature" calls attention to the importance of the nineteenth-century serious journal in shaping public opinion. In the early sixties the new generation of Russian-speaking maskilim began a more energetic campaign for Jewish modernization. The Pisarevian ideas of the radical maskilim and the ideology of Den mark the high point in the optimistic faith of the modernized sector of Russian Jewry that it was moving in the direction of acceptance into Russian life. The average Russian intellectual lived modestly, but could devote himself to the pursuit of knowledge. Voskhod enabled Dubnow to earn about sixty rubles a month in the 1880s, a minimum subsistence even when he moved back to Mstislavl (Dubnow remarked bitterly on his publisher's stinginess), but until the age of forty he had no alternative source of income.

Keywords: maskilim; Russian Jewry; Russian-Jewish literature; Simon Dubnow; Voskhod



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