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“Diabolic Delight”: New Materials to the Jewish Theme in Russian Romanticism

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author introduces the reader to many of the thematically relevant texts which were not included in Russian book. The newfound material sheds novel light on genesis and composition of image of the Jew in Russian culture, altering significantly some of the nuances. This concerns, in part, literary reception and assimilation of such an ancient and widely accepted Christian cliché as the notion of "Judaic spite" and vindictiveness. This stereotyped notion had become deeply entrenched in Russian secular literature before this literature had made the acquaintance of any real Jews. The project of baptizing young Jewesses was given impetus by generally accepted notion of their charm and beauty; this held not only in Christian world in Europe, but also in the East. Romantic values along with the Romantic longing for other worlds yielded a notion of the Jew as a mysterious, demonic being mediating between the earthly and the beyond.

Keywords: "Judaic spite"; Christian cliché; Europe; Jews; Romantic values; Russian culture



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