Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Trieste Reading

My last two blog posts, Trieste and How Trieste Became Secular, have been about the Jews of Trieste, Italy. I was especially seeking information about the secular nature of this community and how it got that way. For this project, I have read several books and articles, such as the beautiful large-format book illustrated at right.

To obtain background material on Trieste at the beginning of the twentieth century, I read the pre-war-written article in my incredible old Brittanica:
Encyclopedia Brittanica, “Trieste” (1921 edition, Volume 17, pp 267-268)

Because Trieste’s Jewish community had such a strong influence on James Joyce, I tried to see what Joyce would have found during his stay there. This question is of interest to Joyce scholars because Joyce transferred much of what he learned about and from the Trieste Jews to his portrayal of the character Leopold Bloom (who of course in the novel Ulysses spends the entire time in Dublin).

Besides Joyce’s most famous friends novelist Italo Svevo and newspaper owner Teodoro Mayer, he encountered a variety of other Jews who were there. I learned for example, that during the early years of his time there, Joyce even rented rooms for a time from a Jewish landlady, who helped out when Nora Barnacle was having her first child (Years of Bloom p. 39). I learned that among many concerts he attended, Joyce once heard a performance of a Mahler symphony conducted by the composer (Years of Bloom p. 124).

Works on this subject:
Maura Hametz, "Zionism, Emigration, and Antisemitism in Trieste: Central Europe's 'Gateway to Zion,' 1896-1943," Jewish  Social Studies, New Series, Society, Vol. 13, No. 3 (Spring/Summer 2007), pp.103-134
Gur Alroey, "Journey to Early-Twentieth-Century Palestine as a Jewish Immigrant Experience" Jewish Social Studies, New Series, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Winter, 2003), pp. 28-64
John McCourt, The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-1920. University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
John McCourt, James Joyce: A Passionate Exile. Orion Media, 2000.
Peter Hartshorn, James Joyce and Trieste. Greenwood Press, 1997.

For my second post, How Trieste Became Secular, as noted there, I read:
Lois C. Dubin, The Port Jews of Habsburg Trieste: Absolutist Politics and Enlightenment Culture. Stanford University Press, 1999.

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