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Defining DeutschtumPolitical Ideology, German Identity, and Music-Critical Discourse in Liberal Vienna$
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David Brodbeck

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199362707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199362707.001.0001

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Rethinking the “Billroth Affair”

Rethinking the “Billroth Affair”

Chapter:
(p.106) Chapter Four Rethinking the “Billroth Affair”
Source:
Defining Deutschtum
Author(s):

David Brodbeck

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199362707.003.0005

This chapter offers a new look at a dispute that took place at the Vienna Medical School in 1875 upon the publication of a treatise by the noted surgeon and medical professor Theodor Billroth entitled über das Lehren und Lernen der medicinischen Wissenschaften an den Universitäten der deutschen Nation. The author was an accomplished musician and close to Brahms, Hanslick, and Goldmark. The sticking point in this controversial book was a brief passage in which the author questioned the fitness of many of his Jewish students from the Eastern provinces for the study of medicine. The chapter suggests that Billroth’s controversial remarks cannot be well understood unless questions of contemporary anti-Judaic and German-nationalist sentiment that they raise are approached with nuance and sensitivity to context; it argues that a similar flexibility is required in approaching Goldmark’s reception by liberal nationalist music critics such as Hanslick and Speidel.

Keywords:   Theodor Billroth, Johannes Brahms, Vienna Medical School

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