Death and the Nation

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:
Death and the Nation

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This chapter examines the radicalization of political discourse in the 1890s and its obsession with the metaphor of ritual murder. It argues that the rhetoric of ritual murder not only echoed widely diffused refrains of Jewish “danger”—which could be heard around the same time in other parts of Central and Eastern Europe—but also functioned as an indirect commentary on the national conflict between Czechs and Germans. It explains that a preexisting discourse on Jews as Germanizing elements in the Czech countryside led some activists (from Czech national liberals to the more radical national socialists) to take a particular interest in the growing, European-wide discussions on Jewish “ritual murder”.

Keywords: political discourse; metaphor; ritual murder; Central and Eastern Europe; Czechs; Germans; Germanizing elements

Chapter.  7146 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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