On Myth, History, and National Belonging in the Nineteenth Century

Hillel J. Kieval

in Languages of Community

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780520214101
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921160 | DOI:
On Myth, History, and National Belonging in the Nineteenth Century

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter explores the connections among myth, history, and national identity, especially as they relate to the growing self-confidence of the Czech national movement and the increasingly uncomfortable position of “German” Jews in nineteenth-century Bohemia and Moravia. It notes that Jewish writers in the Czech lands began to make their own contributions to a growing public contest over local history and memory following the political liberalizations of 1860–61. It reports that a minor pamphlet war, which appeared to pit one interpretation of Czech-Jewish history against another, wholly incompatible vision of the past, erupted shortly thereafter. It suggests that one of the contributions to this debate, ought to be seen as a “forgery”—not unlike earlier documentary forgeries in Czech historiography—and intervention, in fact, by a non-Jewish writer, which nevertheless influenced the developing reorientation in Czech-Jewish culture.

Keywords: myth; history; national identity; Czech national movement; Bohemia; Moravia; pamphlet war; forgery; historiography

Chapter.  8819 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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