The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0078 Tuesday, 13 January 2004
Date: Monday, 12 Jan 2004 13:16:19 EST
Subject: Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
How many Jews were in London at the end of the 16th century, would
Shakespeare have known any more than in passing, what influence, if any,
could they have had on him? What Jewish books besides the Old Testament
in Christian translation would have been available to him, what level of
knowledge of Jews did he have? Doing a concordance search, almost all
the relatively few references to Jews are pejorative, but don't seem to
be very deep or personal, they are in passing, Liver of Blaspheming Jew,
and so forth except for mention of Shylock.
Changing the subject slightly, where did the anti-black feeling in
Othello come from, it is much sharper than the general dislike of Jews
in his work. Would Shakespeare have come into contact with any Blacks,
were there any in England? Was "Moor" a synonym for black, or is there
a reference to anti-Turkish or anti North African feeling, which would
have been strong, here?
Michael B. Luskin
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