Page 116 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
any visual material, but were substantive, textual ways o f giving
scholarly credibility to the geographic and intellectual roots o f
that generation o f Jews who were often ambivalent about their
origins. The new generation o f these books is no longer d e ­
pendent on a single publishing source for the entire Jewish com ­
munity. (Indeed, this multiplicity o f Jewish publishing ventures
is a marketing issue o f some concern for the healthy future
o f JPS.) We also see more high quality photography, art repro­
duction, and printing — essential for assuring that this material
will meet new visual standards that audiences demand from
all art books. Building on earlier scholarship, the new works
are often more popular in nature, especially when they have
come into being as part o f an exhibition package.
It is a mark o f the existing support systems that Germany
and its various cities and complex Jewish history, has continued
to benefit from the most consistent focus. That was true im­
mediately following World War II (the early Frankfurt and Co­
logne Judaica exhibition catalogues are still unsurpassed), and
seems never to have waned. Berlin, Frankfurt, and Cologne
still seem interesting in this generation o f publications. But we
also can see excellent work on Amsterdam, Istanbul, Hungary,
and China — to select but a few o f the areas covered.
There are some interesting gaps in the art publications as
well. While Spain’s so-called “golden age” is included in most
published material to which it is appropriate, there is still no
adequate publication which brings all o f that material together.
Indeed, the “new” Spain, now emerging as a leading European
country, suggests to us that all sorts o f new art-based publishing
has yet to take place. The same can be said for Poland, about
which there has been no really comprehensive visual history.
Different political circumstances may now make possible new
approaches that enable us to add new layers o f integrated art
information to the extensive histories we already have. These
are two seminal Jewish communities for which the major mu­
seum work has yet to be done — and so probably the publication
waits for that as well.
Jewish publication as an art in itself has long been a subject
o f Jewish art books. This continues to be the case, with a slow
but steady flow o f facsimile books continuing to appear, as well
as other books about Jewish book and manuscript production.
In some ways these are among the most satisfying o f Jewish