The Companion is a seminal work of cultural reference incorporating, in two types of entry, cultural biographies and thematic surveys. It attempts to present a comprehensive account of the Jewish contribution to every cultural field, in many of the world's languages and countries. It covers the 200 years or so which have followed the Jewish Emancipation of the 18th century, and attempts to explain the remarkable achievements of a people who throughout history have constituted an oppressed minority in many parts of the world. The biographical articles cover figures prominent in the arts, literature, language, philosophy and some social sciences. Most concern Jews prominent in their fields, who made theri contribution within the knowledge of their own Jewishness, or at least with some Jewish awareness. Thematic essays cover cultural categories and vital aspects of Judaism such as its relationship with Christianity and Islam; the holocaust; Judaism and modern feminism; psychoanalysis; Jewish humour and many other topics. The articles and biographies have been written by leading scholars and academics, musicians, artists, and experts on theatre, dance, chess and cooking. It is a book which explores the complex interrelationship of the Jews and the modern world.
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This encyclopedic guide to modern Jewish culture offers a feast of learning. Focusing on the Ashkenazi-Western culture, it provides over 1100 entries by an international group of scholars. The format of the work resembles that of the Oxford Companions: clear double-columned pages yield a treasure trove of easy-to-read information and analysis. There are surveys on many pressing modern-day topics, among them feminism, art, and psychoanalysis. Readers will also enjoy the insightful biographical essays on such stellar contemporaries as Woody Allen and David Mamet. We have here a compulsively readable reference work. Highly recommended for most libraries.
-Paul Kaplan, Highland Park P.L., Ill.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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