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View Diary: Bookflurries-Bookchat: First Impressions (144 comments)

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  •  Having seen both The Merchant of Venice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, MT Spaces, newdem1960, Brecht

    and Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, Shakespeare's certainly had more nuance.  Shylock is a villain, but a villain with an understandable motive as he's had to deal with abuse and contempt from his neighbors.  Marlowe's Barabas is just plain over-the-top eeeeeevil.

    Anti-Semitism was taken for granted in that era, and both Shakespeare and Marlowe have "greedy as a Jew" and suchlike comments in more than one play.  

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 07:16:58 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Anti-semitism was egregious in those days (4+ / 0-)

      well, Jews were illegal in Britain for 400 years, I believe.

      It's been shocking me to find how recent widespread anti-semitism was: more common than not until the 1930s. The decade after that woke up the international liberal conscience.

      But Dickens, Trollope, Thackeray all have caricatures of Jews. Dostoevsky, whom I adore and admire, with such sympathy for all of humanity - terrible anti-semite.

      Eliot's the best by far in the 1800s, and she was anti-semitic until she educated hersout of it. But kudos to her for doing so.

      Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis too, and no doubt many more.

      "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

      by Brecht on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 08:15:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reading stuff from other centuries (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, Monsieur Georges, MT Spaces, Brecht

        I'm forever having to remind myself about the era's different mores around race, religion and (especially) gender.  But it jumps out at me in a big way, and I can't help trying to picture the roles reversed.

        I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

        by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 09:08:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Looking through these different lenses and putting (3+ / 0-)

          ourselves in other people's shoes can be very enriching to our awareness and sensitivity. You may not need it, but I do. I mean I'm basically a dead white male, except I'm not dead yet.

          There is much to be hopeless about in the modern world, and plenty of hate and oppression, but our progress on the fronts you mention, our enlightenment relative to a century ago, gives some hope. Also how we view children, animals and the environment. I'm not saying enlightenment is winning, but it's clearly spread some.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:15:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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