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Jewish IdentitiesNationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music$
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Klara Moricz

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520250888

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520250888.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 04 August 2021

Postscript: “Castle of Purity”

Postscript: “Castle of Purity”

Chapter:
(p.337) Postscript: “Castle of Purity”
Source:
Jewish Identities
Author(s):

Kálra Móricz

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520250888.003.0011

This chapter cites an excerpt from Octavio Paz's “The Castle of Purity,” an essay on Marcel Duchamp. In ancient religions, purity and impurity were strongly associated with taboos. Western culture inherited the concept via Judaism. From the perspective of realized social utopias, purity can be seen as a tool of violence, hence the discomfort one feels in evoking the concept. Despite its central role in twentieth-century art, the significance of purity has been rarely, if ever, discussed, as if critics have wanted to “purify” history of the concept. The genocidal purification practiced during World War II and the numerous attempts at ethnic cleansings that still haunt the world have tainted the word with horrific associations.

Keywords:   Marcel Duchamp, Octavio Paz, Judaism, purity, twentieth-century art, World War II, ethnic cleansing

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