Jews in Literature Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Esther L. Panitz (essay date 1981)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Panitz, Esther. “Alienation and the Cult of the Individual.” In The Alien in Their Midst: Images of Jews in English Literature, pp. 162-70. Rutherford, NJ: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1981.

[In the following excerpt, Panitz presents a summary of the changing image of the Jew in English literature from the time of Geoffrey Chaucer to the twentieth century, and concludes that stereotypical thinking about Jews still remains.]

The certitude that had been part of Browning's life reinforced his cheerful eagerness. Yet in the midst of all that pleasant ambience, the earlier frustrations and conflicts of the Victorian Age grew into the nativisms and doubts...

(The entire section is 14411 words.)

Stephen R. Haynes (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Haynes, Stephen R. “Introduction.” In Jews and the Christian Imagination: Reluctant Witnesses, pp. 1-11. Hampshire, England: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Haynes examines the conception of Jews in the imagination of Christian writers, focusing on what he suggests are largely unconscious attitudes toward them.]

[The Jews] are our supporters in their books, our enemies in their hearts, our witnesses in their scrolls.

Augustine, On Faith in Things Unseen

The history of the nation of Israel is indeed unlike...

(The entire section is 4084 words.)

Linda Nochlin (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Nochlin, Linda. “Starting with the Self: Jewish Identity and Its Representation.” In The Jew in the Text: Modernity and the Construction of Identity, edited by Linda Nochlin and Tamar Garb, pp. 7-19. London: Thames and Hudson, 1995.

[In the following essay, Nochlin explores the representation of Jews in the visual arts and the underlying assumptions, cultural and literary, that they reflect. She concludes, however, that there are no sweeping generalizations that can be made about how Jews are depicted in art.]

“Why do they hate us so much?” This is not merely an anguished cry torn from the heart—although, of course, it is that, too—but rather a...

(The entire section is 6111 words.)

Harley Erdman (essay date 1997)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Erdman, Harley. “Introduction.” In Staging the Jew: The Performance of an American Ethnicity 1860-1920, pp. 1-13. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

[In the following excerpt, Erdman explores the influence of Jewish stage stereotypes on artists and audiences in the period between 1860 and 1920, showing how various artists both fulfilled and reshaped expectations of their performances.]

The actor David Warfield used to tell a story about his professional debut as part of a second-rate West Coast company in the late 1880s. The play was Tom Taylor's Victorian melodrama The Ticket-of-Leave Man, a quarter-of-a-century-old English play that...

(The entire section is 6263 words.)

Robert Schechter (essay date summer 1999)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Schechter, Robert. “Rationalizing the Enlightenment: Postmodernism and Theories of Anti-Semitism.” Historical Reflections 25, no. 2 (summer 1999): 279-306.

[In the following essay, Schechter examines the roots of anti-Semitic thought, beginning with François-Marie Voltaire in the Enlightenment and continuing into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.]

The Jews of France did not wait for postmodernism before criticizing the Enlightenment. In response to an anti-Jewish libelist who in 1786 accused the Jews of being “superstitious,” Isaiah Berr Bing of Metz defended himself and his coreligionists in a published letter:


(The entire section is 10768 words.)