Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and by Jeremy Dauber

By Jeremy Dauber

Antonio’s Devils bargains either traditionally and theoretically with the origins of recent Hebrew and Yiddish literature through tracing the development of some striking writers who, for varied purposes and in numerous methods, pointed out Scripture for his or her personal objective, as Antonio’s “devil,” Shylock, does within the service provider of Venice.By analyzing the paintings of key figures within the early heritage of Jewish literature in the course of the prism in their allusions to classical Jewish texts, the booklet focuses recognition at the significant and hugely advanced thoughts the maskilim hired to accomplish their polemical and ideological targets. Dauber makes use of this system to check foundational texts via a few of the Jewish Enlightenment’s best and demanding authors, attaining new and sometimes stunning conclusions.

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63. Naturally, all this assumes that such a contract is prima facie valid, an assumption seemingly shared at Wrst by all parties involved, though how such a contract would be valid in light of the Venetian law Portia cites forbidding an alien to “by direct or indirect attempts . . 362–364) is at best unclear. 23 24 Setting the Stage textual understanding, we can understand why Antonio and his friends are stymied for so long: employing the “literalist” approach, as Shakespeare suggests Christians should and must do, Shylock seems to have the insuperable advantage.

In fact, the strong strain of criticism viewing the play as a form of dark fairy tale is highly persuasive. See, for example, John Middleton Murray, “Shakespeare’s Method: The Merchant of Venice” in Wheeler 37–57, esp. 42, and Gross’s description of the atmosphere of the play as “half-romantic, half-naturalistic” (17). This said, the parameters that dictate the shape and Xow and the type of fairy tale told are themselves historically conditioned. 44. Shapiro 6. 45. Cecil Roth, History of the Jews in England 145; cited in Danson 58.

This is hardly to suggest that The Merchant of Venice is a historical play. In fact, the strong strain of criticism viewing the play as a form of dark fairy tale is highly persuasive. See, for example, John Middleton Murray, “Shakespeare’s Method: The Merchant of Venice” in Wheeler 37–57, esp. 42, and Gross’s description of the atmosphere of the play as “half-romantic, half-naturalistic” (17). This said, the parameters that dictate the shape and Xow and the type of fairy tale told are themselves historically conditioned.

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