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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The Accommodated Jew
Author(s):
Kathy Lavezzo
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501703157.003.0001

This book examines texts by English writers from Bede to John Milton that focus on Jews who are accommodated—that is, those who have found lodging in a host country. Insofar as they are accommodated or housed, the Jews depicted in early English texts offer a geography of Jewish identity that departs from what may be a more familiar linkage of Jews and space in antisemitic literature: the Wandering Jew legend. That legend, whose mobile protagonist embodies the territorial upheavals of the Jewish diaspora, only became popular in Europe during the seventeenth century. Before that time, English literature featured not the wandering but the accommodated Jew. The book demonstrates how space both fosters and troubles the antisemitism at work in English texts by engaging in both historical contextualization and close formal analysis of their representation of physical locations. It uses as a conceptual springboard the Hereford world map in order to develop further its methodology.

Keywords:   antisemitism, Bede, John Milton, Jews, English literature, Jewish identity, antisemitic literature, Wandering Jew legend, Jewish diaspora, accommodated Jew

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