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Chopin and His World$
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Jonathan D. Bellman and Halina Goldberg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691177755

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691177755.001.0001

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Chopin and Jews

Chopin and Jews

(p.123) Chopin and Jews
Chopin and His World

Jeffrey Kallberg

Princeton University Press

This chapter illustrates Chopin's invocation of the word Jew, in contexts that often go beyond the purely descriptive and instead verge into invective and abuse. In a correspondence that otherwise portrays a sympathetic and imaginative individual, an overview of his use of “Jew” reveals something else entirely: something repulsive, bitter, and distressing. For advocates of Chopin's music, the common reactions to these outbursts are to ignore them, to make excuses, or to find ways to bracket off the invective from his sounding creations. Yet it will not really do to avert scholars' attention: not only do basic principles of biographical honesty compel them to think in a sustained way about Chopin's anti-Judaism, it is also possible that his tirades tell something about his creative life.

Keywords:   Fryderyk Chopin, Jew, music, sounding creations, biographical honesty, anti-Judaism

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