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Jews in Poland and Russia: 1881-1914 v. 2$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113836

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113836.001.0001

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The Rise of Jewish Mass Culture: Press, Literature, Theatre

The Rise of Jewish Mass Culture: Press, Literature, Theatre

(p.379) Ten The Rise of Jewish Mass Culture: Press, Literature, Theatre
Jews in Poland and Russia: 1881-1914 v. 2

Antony Polonsky

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the rise of Jewish mass culture. The processes of industrialization, urbanization, and secularization which gathered pace in the course of the nineteenth century produced, out of the break-up of traditional ways of life, a modern mass culture. This in its turn further undermined long-established patterns of thinking and acting. This cycle was also to be seen in Jewish eastern Europe, where in the larger towns a Jewish popular culture, expressed for the most part in Yiddish, began to emerge in the decades before 1914. It manifested itself in mass-circulation newspapers and magazines, popular literature, music, and theatre. The Jewish popular culture which emerged in the four decades before the First World War was an international phenomenon which accompanied the emigration of Jews in large numbers from the lands of former Poland–Lithuania to western Europe, the Americas, and even the Antipodes. It was a trend which had an enormous impact not only on the development of Jewish life but also on the culture of the peoples among whom the Jews lived.

Keywords:   Jewish mass culture, modern mass culture, Jewish eastern Europe, Jewish popular culture, emigration, Jewish life, mass-circulation newspapers, popular literature, popular music, popular theatre

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