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Theatrical LiberalismJews and Popular Entertainment in America$
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Andrea Most

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708194

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708194.001.0001

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Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

(p.1) Setting the Stage
Theatrical Liberalism

Andrea Most

NYU Press

This chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book explores the relationship between Jews and popular entertainment in America. It argues that first- and second-generation American Jewish writers and directors negotiated a position for themselves within and alongside multiple strains of Protestant American liberalism by reimagining key aspects of traditional Jewish culture as theatrical. In the process, they created a new form of secular Judaism, expressed in a hybrid and enormously successful popular culture, which tapped into the theatricality of American democracy and spoke to a broad American public. The chapter goes on to explain the meaning of the term theatrical liberalism. It then discusses the four key features that distinguish works of theatrical liberalism from other works of American popular culture followed by a description of the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   Jewish liberalism, American Jews, popular culture, Judaism, Protestant American liberalism, theatrical liberalism

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