Literary Representations of “the Jew”

Ezra Mendelsohn

in Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XII: Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts

Published in print April 1997 | ISBN: 9780195112030
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854608 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Contemporary Jewry

Literary Representations of “the Jew”

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This chapter reviews three literary texts represented by a Jew. The first and the most famous representation of a Jew in literature was written by John Gross entitled Shylock. Gross maintained that it would be an unusual and an unnatural Jew who could regard Shylock with complete detachment. The second literary work examined here is Israel at Vanity Fair written by S. S. Prawer, which deals exhaustively with the representation of Jews in Thackeray's writings. This includes all the writings, not only the author's many published books but also his manifold work as a journalist and his private letters. The third work examined is Constructions of “the Jew” written by Bryan Cheyette, a critic in a fashionable mold. This author discarded the terms “antisemitism” and “philosemitism” in favor of his own coinage, “semitic discourse,” in his writings.

Keywords: Jew; literature; John Gross; Shylock; Israel at Vanity Fair; S. S. Prawer; Thackeray's writings; Constructions of the Jew; Bryan Cheyette

Chapter.  3756 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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