Lamentations of Youth: The Diaries of Gershom Scholem, 1913-1919

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9780674026698: Lamentations of Youth: The Diaries of Gershom Scholem, 1913-1919

For decades, Gershom Scholem kept these diaries locked away, returning to them only to refresh his memory of past events and eloquent observations. They remained unread by others until the meticulously edited German edition of this book appeared in 2002.

Lamentations of Youth gives insight into a crucial stage in Scholem's life, beginning when he was a student in Berlin during the First World War, a time of incubation and growth for his later ideas. Much of the journal writing, however, took place in Switzerland, a magnet for radical artists, socialist intellectuals, and revolutionaries fleeing war. The diaries are where Scholem forges his anarchic orthodoxy, and where he chronicles his intense relationship with Walter Benjamin. Many entries have the crisp quality of literary aphorisms crafted in the great German tradition of Kafka and Canetti.

For Scholem and Benjamin, the time they spent together in Switzerland spawned an astoundingly original view of literary criticism, interpretation, and cultural transmission. More personally, the themes of friendship, love, and heartbreak that dominate these pages later reemerge in Scholem's scholarship. No longer is the inner life of the critic seen as distinct from his textual criticism--they are deeply and esoterically intertwined.

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About the Author:

The noted scholar Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) was a close friend of Walter Benjamin and was Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University.

Anthony David Skinner is the author of The Patron: A Life of Salman Schocken.

Review:

Scholem's intellectual power was matched only by his powerful feelings, to which his diaries give free rein.
--Jeremy Adler (Times Literary Supplement)

Scholem is perhaps the single most consequential scholar in 20th century Jewish history, and the undisputed master of the Jewish mystical tradition. He is also a powerfully influential and original figure in the history of modern Jewish thought. His fascinating diaries display the young Scholem as a man of his time: a German Jew in rebellion against his father's assimilationist generation, a passionate and neo-Romantic rebel conspiring to create his own neo-Nietzschean philosophy, a writer of poetry and an avid reader of both philosophy and literature. Lamentations of Youth will be of tremendous interest both to general readers and to scholars of the history of German Jewry, German cultural history, and the history of religions. This is a fascinating and timely volume.
--Peter Gordon, Harvard University

While best known for his foundational works on the history of Jewish mysticism, the German-born Gershom Scholem's interests were not only wide ranging but so advanced as to still be pertinent in contemporary academic thought. This substantial selection from his unpublished youthful diaries, written when Scholem was between the ages of 16 and 22, is a major addition to his published work: even in his late teen years, Scholem is a full-blown intellectual writing profoundly about important religious and social issues and taken seriously by established scholars like Martin Buber. These entries detail everyday happenings--including Scholem's extraordinarily close friendship with Walter Benjamin--as well as his musings on a wide range of topics, including the new Zionist movement. There is also a passion that conveys Scholem's humanity; when friends were killed in WWI, he wrote: "The old men should be shipped off to war. They can kill one another if they want, they shouldn't rob youth of its blood, which is a vicious act against the future of society." These diaries are vital reading for anyone interested in 20th-century Jewish culture, Jewish mysticism and the history of Zionism. (Publishers Weekly 2007-10-08)

Lamentations of Youth provides intriguing access to a young man's whoosh of ideas in a time when socialism, anarchism, Zionism, modernism, and cubism were revolutionizing the world. Scholem leaps rapidly from this to that, metamorphosing from an uncertain student at Berlin University momentarily thrilled by Martin Buber, to a more confident thinker, gulping down the writings of Tolstoy, Nietzsche, and S.Y. Agnon.
--Barbara Probst Solomon (New York Sun 2008-02-26)

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Gershom Scholem
Editorial: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2008-01-31 (2008)
ISBN 10: 0674026691 ISBN 13: 9780674026698
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Descripción Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2008-01-31, 2008. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: good. 0674026691. Nº de ref. de la librería 593749

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Gershom Scholem; Translator-Anthony David Skinner
Editorial: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0674026691 ISBN 13: 9780674026698
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Descripción Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Used: Good. Nº de ref. de la librería SONG0674026691

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