Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial by Benjamin Nathans

By Benjamin Nathans

A impressive variety of Jews lived, actually and figuratively, "beyond the light" of Jewish cost in tsarist Russia throughout the half-century earlier than the Revolution of 1917. due to the provision of long-closed Russian records, in addition to quite a lot of different assets, Benjamin Nathans reinterprets the background of the Russian-Jewish encounter.

In the wake of Russia's "Great Reforms," Nathans writes, a coverage of selective integration inspired social and geographic mobility one of the empire's Jews. The response that culminated, towards the flip of the century, in ethnic regulations on admission to universities, the professions, and different associations of civil society mirrored large anxieties that Russians have been being positioned at an obstacle of their personal empire. Nathans's conclusions in regards to the results of selective integration and the Russian-Jewish come upon in this formative interval should be of serious curiosity to all scholars of contemporary Jewish and smooth Russian history.

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Additional resources for Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (Studies on the History of Society and Culture)

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Marek, Evreiskie narodnye pesni (St. Petersburg, 1901), pp. 41–54, 283–302, as well as the sources cited in S. M. Ginsburg, Historishe verk, 3: 1–135. D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1999. Underage Jewish soldiers occasionally made their way into works by prominent Russian authors as well, including Nikolai Leskov’s short story “Vladychnyi sud” and Alexander Herzen’s memoirs, Byloe i dumy. 15. For recruitment figures, see Stanislawski, Tsar Nicholas I, p. 25. ” His estimate that “at least half” of the cantonists converted, however, strikes me as too high.

If one moves beyond the writing of separate histories of the many national and ethnic groups subject to the Romanov dynasty (the “one people after another” approach) and beyond the history of imperial management from the perspective of Moscow and St. Petersburg—as crucial as these are —then who or what should be the subject of one’s story? I cannot claim to have solved the riddle of how to tell the story of an empire in a way that does justice to the parts as well as the whole. Nor do I claim that the experience of Jews in the Russian Empire is a representative part that can stand for other parts.

While this book is principally about the encounter of Jews and Russians, it is also, inevitably, about our encounter with the past. As such, it employs the paradoxical procedures I believe such an encounter requires. The his- liquidation under Stalin in 1929, the society’s archive was off limits to scholars until 1989. See E. Tcherikover, Istoriia Obshchestva dlia rasprostraneniia prosveshcheniia mezhdu evreiami v Rossii, 1863–1913 (St. Petersburg, 1913), and Y. L. Rosenthal, Toldot hevrat marbe haskalah be-´erets rusiyah, 2 vols.

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