“Why Go Be a Beggar in a Foreign Land?” Local Identity in Bohemian Jewish Literary Sources from the 1830-1840s

3 March 2015 - 5 PM

Jindřich Toman (University of Michigan)

In 1828 the young poet L. A. Frankl (1810-1894) left his small Bohemian birthplace, Chrast, and moved to Vienna, where he published a collection entitled Das Habsburglied (1832), essentially a set of eulogies to the ruling dynasty. In choosing the theme of the ruling dynasty and the language of the empire, German, Frankl thus asserted his imperial loyalty. Ten years later or so another Bohemian Jewish author, Jacob Kaufmann (1814-1871), published a prose entitled Der böhmische Dorfjude (1841), which pictures Jews as living “at home” side by side with its Czech neighbors. And five years later Siegfried Kapper (1821-1879) published his České listy, a collection written in Czech in which he explicitly calls for Czech-Jewish symbiosis in a common “fatherland.” Assuming Frankl, Kaufmann and Kapper define a relevant literary space, we interrogate the possibility of whether there is a point in this period at which imperial loyalty shifts to local loyalty, i.e., when a Jewish identity emerges that is locally contextualized without being assimilatory.


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (capkova@usd.cas.cz).