William Shakespeare and the Jews

On August 4, 2015, I published the following post on Book Riot.

William Shakespeare and the Jews

Al Pacino as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

If you ask me, the William Shakespeare character that stands out the most is Shylock, the Jewish moneylender in The Merchant of Venice. The character of Shylock is controversial in many ways and has been debated frequently over the years. Is Shylock an anti-Semitic portrayal of a Jew? If so, does that mean that we have to stop reading and producing the play?

In my view, Shylock is a thoroughly problematic character. But my interest in Shylock is not so much whether or not the portrayal of him is anti-Semitic. To me that is a moot point. Hatred and prejudice against Jews was prevalent during Shakespeare’s lifetime, and Shakespeare himself was by no means unaffected by this. What interests me about Shylock is the fact the character exists at all.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.

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The Astonishing Authorship of Aphra Behn

On July 23, 2015, I posted the following on Book Riot.

The Astonishing Authorship of Aphra Behn

B2002.15Aphra Behn (1640–1689) is the first woman in the Western world known to have made her living as a writer. In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf states that all women who earn their living writers owe a debt of gratitude to Aphra Behn.

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In the words of my friend, the Australian, I shall return.