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

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195112030

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195112030.001.0001

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Literary Representations of “the Jew”

Literary Representations of “the Jew”

(p.221) Literary Representations of “the Jew”
Studies in Contemporary Jewry: XII: Literary Strategies: Jewish Texts and Contexts

Ezra Mendelsohn

Oxford University Press

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

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