The Ambiguity of Virtue
Bernard Wasserstein Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress D804.6.W3713 2014 | Dewey Decimal 940.531809492352
Working with the Nazi-appointed Jewish Council in Amsterdam, Gertrude van Tijn helped many Jews escape. But she faced difficult moral choices. Some called her a heroine; others, a collaborator. Bernard Wasserstein's haunting narrative draws readers into this twilight world, to expose the terrible dilemmas confronting Jews under Nazi occupation.
This is the first book to offer a translation into English-as well as a critical study-of a Spanish treatise written around 1650 by Rabbi Saul Levi Morteira, whose most renowned congregant was Baruch Spinoza. Aimed at encouraging the practice of halachic Judaism among the Amsterdam-based descendants of conversos, Spanish and Portuguese Sephardic Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity, the book stages a dialogue between two conversos that ultimately leads to a vision of a Jewish homeland-an outcome that Morteira thought was only possible through his program for rejudaisation.
This book exploits a trove of original documents that have survived on the auctions organized by the Orphan Chamber of Amsterdam in the first half of the 17th century. For the first time, the names of some 2000 buyers of works of art at auction in the 29 extant notebooks of the Chamber have been systematically analyzed. On the basis of archival research, data have been assembled on the occupation of these buyers (most of whom were merchants), their origin (Southern Netherlands, Holland, and other), their religion, their year of birth, their date of marriage, the taxes they paid and other indicators of their wealth. Buyers were found to cluster in groups, not only by extended family but by occupation, religion (Remonstrants, Counter-Remonstrants) and avocation (amateurs of tulips and of porcelain, members of Chambers of Rhetoricians, and so forth). The subjects of the works of art they bought and the artists to which they were attributed (only the most important were attributed) are also analyzed. In the second part of the book on “Selected Buyers”, three chapters are devoted to art dealers who bought at auction and four to buyers who had special connections with artists, including principally Rembrandt. To forge a link between the cultural milieu of Amsterdam in this period and the buying public, two chapters are given over to buyers who were either poets themselves or were connected with contemporary poets. As a whole, the book offers a penetrating insight into the culture of the Amsterdam elite in the 17th century.
When people attend classical music concerts today, they sit and listen in silence, offering no audible reactions to what they're hearing. We think of that as normal-but, as Darryl Cressman shows in this book, it's the product of a long history of interrelationships between music, social norms, and technology. Using the example of Amsterdam's Concertgebouw in the nineteenth century, Cressman shows how its design was in part intended to help discipline and educate concert audiences to listen attentively - and analysis of its creation and use offers rich insights into sound studies, media history, science and technology studies, classical music, and much more.
Using the Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage as a window through which readers
can see the start of profound social and economic changes in early modern
Amsterdam, Civic Charity in a Golden Age explores the connections
between the developing capitalist economy, the functioning of the government,
and the provision of charitable services to orphans in Amsterdam during
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the period of the city's greatest
prosperity and subsequent decline.
Anne McCants skillfully interprets details of the orphanage's expenditures,
especially for food; its population; the work records of those who were
reared there; and the careers of the regents who oversaw it. The establishment
of the orphanage itself was called for by the changing economic needs
of rapidly expanding commercial centers and the potential instability
of a government that depended on taxes from a large, politically powerless
segment of the population.
Rich in detail, this is a study of the interrelationships between film historical discourse and archival practices. Exploring the history of several important collections from the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam, Bregt Lameris shows how archival films and collections always carry the historical traces of selection policies, restoration philosophies, and exhibition strategies. The result is a compelling argument that film archives can never be viewed simply as innocent or neutral sources of film history.
Winner of the 1999 Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural
During the early 1900s, Amsterdam developed an international reputation as an urban mecca when invigorating reforms gave rise to new residential neighborhoods encircling the city's dispirited nineteenth-century districts. This new housing, built primarily with government subsidy, not only was affordable but also met rigorous standards of urban planning and architectural design. Nancy Stieber explores the social and political developments that fostered this innovation in public housing.
Drawing on government records, professional journals, and polemical writings, Stieber examines how government supported large-scale housing projects, how architects like Berlage redefined their role as architects in service to society, and how the housing occupants were affected by public debates about working-class life, the cultural value of housing, and the role of art in society.
Stieber emphasizes the tensions involved in making architectural design a social practice while she demonstrates the success of this collective enterprise in bringing about effective social policy and aesthetic progress.
Steven Nadler University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress N6953.R4N33 2003 | Dewey Decimal 759.9492
There is a popular and romantic myth about Rembrandt and the Jewish people. One of history's greatest artists, we are often told, had a special affinity for Judaism. With so many of Rembrandt's works devoted to stories of the Hebrew Bible, and with his apparent penchant for Jewish themes and the sympathetic portrayal of Jewish faces, it is no wonder that the myth has endured for centuries.
Rembrandt's Jews puts this myth to the test as it examines both the legend and the reality of Rembrandt's relationship to Jews and Judaism. In his elegantly written and engrossing tour of Jewish Amsterdam—which begins in 1653 as workers are repairing Rembrandt's Portuguese-Jewish neighbor's house and completely disrupting the artist's life and livelihood—Steven Nadler tells us the stories of the artist's portraits of Jewish sitters, of his mundane and often contentious dealings with his neighbors in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and of the tolerant setting that city provided for Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe. As Nadler shows, Rembrandt was only one of a number of prominent seventeenth-century Dutch painters and draftsmen who found inspiration in Jewish subjects. Looking at other artists, such as the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael and Emmanuel de Witte, a celebrated painter of architectural interiors, Nadler is able to build a deep and complex account of the remarkable relationship between Dutch and Jewish cultures in the period, evidenced in the dispassionate, even ordinary ways in which Jews and their religion are represented—far from the demonization and grotesque caricatures, the iconography of the outsider, so often found in depictions of Jews during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Through his close look at paintings, etchings, and drawings; in his discussion of intellectual and social life during the Dutch Golden Age; and even through his own travels in pursuit of his subject, Nadler takes the reader through Jewish Amsterdam then and now—a trip that, under ever-threatening Dutch skies, is full of colorful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates, and magnificent art.
In this study, the appearance and location of shops in Amsterdam during the early modern period is linked to major changes in the urban economy, the size and socio-spatial distribution of its population, and the structure of the urban grid. Not only is there ample attention for the spatial distribution of shops across the urban landscape, but for the first time it is also accurately charted what the exterior and interior of Amsterdam shops looked like and how they changed in the course of the centuries. Partly as a result of this, it has proved possible to give an impression of the ways in which retailers and customers interacted.
Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. Of all the usual words used to describe non-selective city schools—segregated, unequal, violent—none comes close to characterizing their systemic dysfunction in high-poverty neighborhoods. The most accurate word is toxic.
When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.
Pieter Spierenburg narrates two sensational murder cases among intimates in eighteenth-century Amsterdam. The cases recounted here both resulted from fatal attraction. They represented the darker side of the eighteenth-century revolution in love. This period witnessed great cultural changes affecting personal relationships and emotions. The new ideal of love demanded that couples spend much of their time together and explore each other’s feelings. But this new ideal was meant for married and engaged couples only; for others it meant disaster. Love gone wrong was the theme of the sentimental novels of the age, but it also happened to real people, with fatal consequences.
Written in Blood traces the lives and ultimate fate of Nathaniel Donker, who, together with the help of his mistress, brutally murders and dismembers the wife. The second tale focuses on J. B. F. van Gogh, who falls in love with a prostitute; she later rejects him and, when a letter written with his own blood fails to change her mind, he stabs her to death in a fit of passionate rage.
In Written in Blood, the reader gets two stories for the price of one. And, whereas earlier microhistories have been situated in a village or a small town, the scene here is Amsterdam and its canals. Spierenburg reveals in detail what concepts like honor and gender roles came down to in individual lives. He also shows that these murders produced a strange mixture of modern romantic feelings and traditional notions of honor and shame.