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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: January ::
Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0093  Wednesday, 14 January 2004

[1]     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 08:58:28 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[2]     From:   Holger Schott <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 09:32:26 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[3]     From:   F Helphinstine <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 09:55:22 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[4]     From:   Hannibal Hamlin <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 10:23:08 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[5]     From:   Jack Heller <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 11:15:46 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[6]     From:   Ruth Ross <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 16:20:26 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[7]     From:   Arthur Lindley <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 Jan 2004 10:43:42 +0800
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 08:58:28 -0500
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

Michael Luskin might want to have a look at James Shapiro's book
*Shakespeare and the Jews* (New York: Columbia UP, 1996).

Michael D. Friedman
University of Scranton

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Holger Schott <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 09:32:26 -0500
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

On Jews in Renaissance England, see James Shapiro, _Shakespeare and the
Jews_ (Columbia UP 1996) and David S. Katz, The Jews in the history of
England, 1485-1850 (OUP 1994).

A lot has been written on Othello, his "blackness" (see Honigmann's
Arden 3 edition for a summary) and the presence of actual "Moors" or
other people of African or "Moorish" origin in London; perhaps a good
place to start is Dympna Callaghan, _Shakespeare without Women:
Representing Gender and Race on the Renaissance Stage_ (Routledge 2000);
or Laura H. Yungblut, Strangers Settled Here Amongst Us: Policies,
Perceptions and the Presence of Aliens in Elizabethan England
(Routledge, 1996).

Best,
Holger

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           F Helphinstine <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 09:55:22 -0500
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

Materials prepared for teaching Elizabeth Carey's The Tragedy of Mariam
include Josephus' history of Herod and Mariam, recorded in The
Antiquities of the Jews [translated into English by Thomas Lodge in 1602
(Hodgson-Wright 145). That Lodge would translate such a work suggests an
interest among the educated in the subject.  That Carey has a character
Herod displaying traits found in this work suggests that women as well
as men were reading about Jews.

Fran Helphinstine

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hannibal Hamlin <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 10:23:08 -0500
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

These are hugely complex topics, and you will no doubt get a host of
replies.  I would recommend on the matter of Elizabethan Jews, James
Shapiro's Shakespeare and the Jews, and on Othello's moorishness,
Virginia Mason Vaughan's Othello: A Contextual History.  These are
excellent places to start, but the bibliographies on both topics are
large and growing.

Hannibal Hamlin

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jack Heller <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 11:15:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

I suppose that the reading of Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta and of
Shakespeare and the Jews by Shapiro would answer a number of Dr.
Luskin's questions. My main intention with this post is to note that I'm
not quite in agreement with the contrast stated below:

 >> 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.

In Othello, we have, I think, three characters--the Duke of Venice,
Cassio, and Desdemona--who contrast the prejudices of Brabantio, Iago,
and Roderigo. To me, the anti-Semitism in Merchant of Venice seems more
thorough than the anti-black feeling in Othello. One of the tragic
features of the tragedy is that through Iago's machinations, Othello
himself comes to agree with the prejudiced perspective.

Jack Heller
Huntington College

[6]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Jan 2004 16:20:26 -0500
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

Michael Luskin notes:

 >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?

Just because Iago makes derogatory comments about Othello's blackness
doesn't necessarily mean Shakespeare was anti-black. Iago hates Othello
for promoting Cassio over him (and, he thinks, for sleeping with
Emilia), and he wants to enrage Brabantio and enlist Roderigo so he
calls Othello a "black ram" and notes his thick lips. We don't even know
if Brabantio is anti-black; after all, he did invite Othello to his home
and listened to his wild, exotic stories, entranced. I think he would
have a hard time imagining Desdemona with any man. He tells Roderigo to
get lost and one would think Brabantio would consider him a fit suitor
for his little girl.

Above all, Othello is an outsider: a non-Christian and an employee of
the signors of Venice. For those reasons alone, he would not be suitable
for Desdemona. Notice that Iago mentions neither of these when
attempting to sway opinion against Othello. The blackness is much more
incendiary.

Ruth Ross

[7]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Arthur Lindley <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 Jan 2004 10:43:42 +0800
Subject: 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0078 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

See James Shapiro, _Shakespeare and the Jews_ (Columbia UP, 1996), as a
place to start.

Arthur Lindley
English
NIE, Singapore

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