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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32Jews and Music-Making in the Polish Lands$
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François Guesnet, Benjamin Matis, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764739

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764739.001.0001

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The ‘Lust Machine’

The ‘Lust Machine’

Recording and Selling the Jewish Nation in the Late Russian Empire

The ‘Lust Machine’
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32

James Loeffler

Liverpool University Press

This chapter investigates the role of the gramophone in the development of the Jewish national idea through the propagation of specifically Jewish forms of composition. It talks about Pinkhas Minkovsky, who published a book in order to warn the dangers of the “lust machine” or gramophone that constituted a “pornographic” response to the ills of modernity and a threat to the Jewish people. It also mentions Wolf Isserlin and his brother Mordkhe who turned into gramophone entrepreneurs and opened their own gramophone factory. The chapter investigates why Minkovsky opposed the gramophone while Isserlin staked his career on it. It explains that Minkovsky feared the desecration of Judaism and believed Jewish music was sacred, while Isserlin considered the gramophone as a secular commodity and rushed to commercialize it.

Keywords:   gramophone, Jewish national idea, Pinkhas Minkovsky, Jewish composition, Wolf Isserlin

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