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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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Marooned Mandarins: Freud, Classical Education, and the Jews of Vienna

Marooned Mandarins: Freud, Classical Education, and the Jews of Vienna

(p.34) 2 Marooned Mandarins: Freud, Classical Education, and the Jews of Vienna
Classics and National Cultures

Richard H. Armstrong

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the unique plight of middle‐class Jews in the Austro‐Hungarian Empire, and uses Sigmund Freud as a representative case. Classical education in the tradition of Humboldtian Bildung had given newly emancipated Jews high hopes of becoming integrated into the national mainstream through their intellectual efforts. But despite Jewish achievements, the nationalisms that wracked the failing empire resorted increasingly to political anti‐Semitism as a unifying expedient, thrusting Jews into positions of either Zionist opposition or high‐minded but ineffectual liberal opposition. Freud and Theodor Herzl embody these two responses; while Herzl organized a Jewish nationalism that to many seemed quite pagan and not at all Jewish, Freud chose instead to ally with science and rejected nationalist enthusiasms as dangerous psychological traps.

Keywords:   Viennese Jews, Sigmund Freud, Zionism, anti‐semitism, Theodor Herzl, Bildung, classical education, liberalism, Humboldt

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