Most educated readers are familiar with the sinister figure of Shylock in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", an anti-Semitic stereotype of the cunning, greedy, and ruthless Jewish man. But how did a stereotype like Shylock enter the literature at all, given that there were so few Jews in Shakespeare's England? A lucid account of the cultural anxieties that plagued Elizabethan England, this work goes against the grain of the dominant scholarship on the period, which generally ignores the impact of Jewish questions in early modern England. The author shows how Elizabethans imagined Jews to be utterly different - in terms of religion, race, nationality and even sexuality. Drawing upon an extensive range of literature from the day-travel diaries, chronicles, sermons, political tracts, confessionals of faith, and parliamentary debates, to name a few - the book explores the questions that writers and readers of Shakespearean England had about Jews. In what ways were Jews racially and physically different? Did those who converted lose all trace of their Jewishness? Was it true that Jews habitually took the knife to Christians, circumcizing and then murdering their victims? These, argues Shapiro, were only several of the many questions that occupied the thinking of non-Jews in Elizabethan England. It shows how the various writings reveal more than simply negative attitudes about Jews - they uncover a broader set of English anxieties about their own identities. In this work, Shapiro sheds light on the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and opens new questions about culture and identity in Elizabethan England.
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The Merchant of Venice has long been a problem play for lovers of Shakespeare. How could the greatest playwright in English, renowned for his depth of humanity, create a crude anti-Semitic stereotype like Shylock? The problem has been approached in diverse ways, from branding Shakespeare as an anti-Semite to interpreting his play as a nuanced depiction of Elizabethan anti-Semitism. James Shapiro, a professor of English at Columbia University, sets the problem within a wider field by examining the historical, social, and cultural status of the Jews in Shakespeare's England. He reveals that the Elizabethan view of the Jews was loaded with a complex symbolism that resonates throughout this play.Book Description:
Going against the grain of the dominant scholarship on the period, which generally ignores the impact of Jewish questions in early modern England, Shapiro presents how Elizabethans imagined Jews to be utterly different from themselves--in religion, race, nationality, and even sexuality.
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Descripción Columbia Univ Pr. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0231103441 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0993629
Descripción Columbia Univ Pr, 1995. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110231103441
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