Shakespeare and the Jews

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 1997 - Drama - 320 pages
7 Reviews
Going against the grain of the dominant scholarship on the period, which generally ignores the impact of Jewish questions in early modern England, James Shapiro shows how Elizabethans imagined Jews to be utterly different from themselves - in religion, race, nationality, and even sexuality. From strange cases of Christians masquerading as Jews to bizarre proposals to settle foreign Jews in Ireland, Shakespeare and the Jews looks into the crisis of cultural identity in that post-Reformation world. Even as Shakespeare has come to embody Englishness itself, The Merchant of Venice, with its exploration of Jewish criminality, conversion, race, alien status, and national identity, now stands at the crossroads of cultural exclusion and cultural longing. In this formidably researched new book, Shapiro sheds fascinating light on the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries and opens new questions about culture and identity in Elizabethan England.
  

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Review: Shakespeare and the Jews

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Contents

Introduction i
11
Myths Histories Consequences
43
The Jewish Crime
89
The Pound of Flesh
113
The Hebrew Will Turn Christian
131
Race Nation or Alien?
167
Shakespeare and the Jew Bill of 1753 195
Conclusion 225
SELECT BIBL1OGRAPHY 289
INDEX 305
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

James Shapiro is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

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