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Grant number like: FT-56378-08

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Rachel L. Greenblatt
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2008 – 8/31/2008

A Community's Memory: Jewish Views of Past and Present in Early Modern Prague

The manuscript I propose to edit into book form examines the relationship between the members of Prague's Jewish community (c.1580 to 1730) and their own local past. How were events interpreted? Whose deaths constituted a community-wide affair? How does gender relate to the nature of memories? How long are they preserved? In what language are they recorded? What is the nature of the relationship between the literary and artistic forms used to record memories and their contents? The book addresses these questions through an array of documents and objects in which members of this community recorded their own history, occasionally by actually writing "history" books and more frequently through a variety of different literary and artistic genres, including folk tales, Yiddish songs and Hebrew liturgical poems depicting local events, gravestones and more. As a whole, the work demonstrates the formation of a historically-based local consciousness among Prague's early modern Jews.