- The Anglo-Jewish Identity of a Victorian Middle-Class Woman: A Case Study of Mrs. B. M. Merton (1816–1898)
- Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues
- Indiana University Press
- Number 33, Spring 5779/2018
- pp. 38-63
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- Additional Information
This article examines how an ordinary middle-class Anglo-Jewish woman in the nineteenth century experienced, expressed and passed on to her children her cultural identity, as a Jewish citizen of the nation in which she lived. It draws on the private journals, spanning sixty years, of Hannah Merton, an English-born, conservative Jewish woman of the Victorian era, to discern the thoughts and activities that contributed to the construction and maintenance of her bicultural identity and promoted her family's acculturation. Merton constructed her syncretic Anglo-Jewish identity in the domestic sphere, through her loyalty to "our [Jewish] race" and by immersing herself in the bourgeois culture of "our English world." I argue that her choices, intentional or unintentional, about what not to say helped her avoid conflict between her dual allegiances and protected her carefully constructed identity.