Mid-Century Modern Gershom Scholem Design

mod century

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mod century

I love the old mid-century dust jacket cover design. It’s the color scheme and abstract design element that stands out on the 1965 cover of Scholem’s On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism. The soft electric pastel colors are very mod. We lose a lot of information in the new updated editions of these old scholarly works, especially as they try to update the the cover art. (Sometimes the publishers don’t even try to do that.) There’s a lot to learn from graphic design about style and the reception history of Jewish Studies scholarship and its contemporaneity. The publication of this little text by Scholem in 1965 is a signal of what’s to  come on the postwar American and American Jewish religious scene and the turn to mystical consciousness. Jimi Hendrix and LSD are right around the corner, but for right now the cover art is restrained and respectable. In the study of Kabbalah it seems especially fitting that the medium should be very much the message.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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3 Responses to Mid-Century Modern Gershom Scholem Design

  1. Agreed–I love the original Schocken covers

    • zjb says:

      I like this blog…A LOT. If it were on WordPress, I’d follow it. Please feel free to pass this comment along if you know the author.

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