The following abbreviations are used for periodicals throughout the notes:
Hebrew Christian Witness
Hebrew Review and Magazine of Jewish Literature
Hebrew Review and Magazine of Rabbinical Literature
Israel’s Watchman; A Hebrew Christian Magazine
The Jewish Advocate. For the Young
Jewish Herald and Record of Christian Effort For the Spiritual Good of God’s Ancient People
Jewish Sabbath Journal
Voice of Jacob
1. Statistics in this and the following paragraph on Victorian Jewish population growth are derived from V. D. Lipman, Social History of the Jews in England, 1850–1950 (London: Watts, 1954), 65.
2. See David Feldman, Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture, 1840–1914 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994); and M. C. N. Salbstein, Emancipation of the Jews in Britain: The Question of the Admission of the Jews to Parliament, 1828–1860 (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 1981).
3. See Cecil Roth, A History of the Jews in England (London: Oxford University Press, 1941), esp. chap. 7.
4. For the growth in communal institutions, see Asher I. Meyers, The Jewish Directory of 1874 … and other interesting information (London: A. I. Meyers, 1874). Meyers lists 72 synagogues, 43 literary, burial, and friendly societies, 36 schools, 70 miscellaneous charities for the poor, 6 hospitals, a home for the deaf and dumb, a home for the blind, 3 charities for widows, 2 for lying-in women, and 2 for providing marriage portions to poor young women; at least 3146 children and adults were attending the schools in 1874, and some 1640 persons were holding official positions in the community.
5. David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 6. Sorkin maintains that English Jewry cannot be called a subculture because the community is too heterogeneous and small in size (175). Yet, as this study will show, the notion of a “self-contained system of ideas and symbols,” borrowed from the dominant culture but altered for the English Jews’ own purposes, does apply. The term “subculture” is in any case preferable to “nation,” “race,” or even “ethnicity.” In the wake of political Zionism, “nation” is too likely to be apprehended as if it had state-building aspirations, which for most English Jews during most of the nineteenth century it did not. “Race” is likely to be confused for a genetic term, and a post-Holocaust Jewish consciousness will not permit its scholarly use. The concept of Jewish “ethnicity” did not emerge until the late nineteenth century.
6. For a new history of the Jewish Chronicle, see David Cesarani, The Jewish Chronicle and Anglo-Jewry, 1841–1991 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994). For the centennial history, see The Jewish Chronicle 1841–1941: A Century of Newspaper History (London: Jewish Chronicle, 1949).
7. The most recent example of this tendency is Feldman’s Englishmen and Jews. Other prominent histories include Lipman, Social History; Roth, History of the Jews; Todd Endelman, Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History 1656–1945 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); Israel Finestein, “Anglo-Jewish Opinion During the Struggle for Emancipation,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 20 (1964) 113–43; Albert M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England, A History of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community, 1492–1951 (London: Methuen, 1951); Salbstein, Emancipation of the Jews.
8. See Cecil Roth, “Evolution of Anglo-Jewish Literature” (London: Edward Goldston, 1937), whose manifestly apologetic essay mentions only three Anglo-Jewish women writers (Aguilar, Polack, and Emma Lyons) in a list of twenty Jewish writers, and remarks, without explanation, “If we neglect … Grace Aguilar’s romantical Vale of Cedars, etc., the earliest attempt [of Jews to give a more faithful picture of themselves] was perhaps that of Matthias Levy” (8). Todd Endelman, in the introduction to The Jews of Georgian England, 1714–1830 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989), argues that Jews produced no emancipationist theory. Also see Sorkin, Transformation of German Jewry, 175: “English Jewry did not generate a significant Haskala movement. And lacking the political pressures of a comprehensive emancipation process—emancipation turned on the ability to hold office … — English Jewry experienced no conspicuous ideological ferment.” Rachel Beth Zion Lask Abrahams does attempt to reckon with the history of Anglo-Jewish women in “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 16 (1952): 137–48, and acknowledges Aguilar’s “phenomenal popularity” and her “bearing on the period following political emancipation” (137). But her final assessment is that, though Aguilar was “gifted with great facility in the art of expressing herself, she was yet without that equipment and solid learning which could have measured up to her indomitable spirit, her phenomenal industry, and her unquestioning loyalty to her people” (147). The question of how her work influenced Jews and Christians during the emancipation period is left unresolved. A similar argument about women’s subsumption under the banner of “man” appears in Marion A. Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 8–9, 15.
9. Literary critics have had to be more attentive to the women’s works, since these are the majority of Victorian Jews’ literary production. Nevertheless, while Linda Gertner Zatlin’s The Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Jewish Novel (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981) is a useful survey, it characterizes the novels of Aguilar and the Mosses as “propaganda fiction” that “fail to enlighten” (40). Of Anglo-Jewish novels as a whole, Zatlin offers this assessment: “Individual Anglo-Jewish novels do not offer the kind of vision found in the ‘great’ works of the Victorian period. Most characters fit a Procrustean bed and fail to do more than embody a thinly disguised point. … [T]ogether they provide a social history of Victorian Anglo-Jews that vividly depicts problems of this minority group as it became freed from political and social restrictions” (133). Philip Weinberger, “The Social and Religious Thought of Grace Aguilar (1816–1847)” (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1970), on the other hand, singles out Aguilar as “sui generis,” making comparison between her and contemporaries impossible. Livia Bitton-Jackson’s excellent Madonna or Courtesan? the Jewish Woman in Christian Literature (New York: Seabury Press, 1982) does not consider how Anglo-Jewish women represented themselves.
10.Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 68–93. Also see Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel, The Jewish Woman in America (New York: Dial Press, 1976), 12–14. Glückel of Hameln was a medieval German-Jewish merchant’s wife who had fourteen children and ran the business after her husband died. Her fascinating autobiography has been preserved as The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln, trans. Marvin Lowenthal (New York: Schocken Books, 1977).
11.Imrei Lev, Prayers and Meditations for Every Situation and Occasion in Life (reviewed in JC, Aug. 1, 1856), still did publish tekhinot even during the Victorian period. For a discussion of tekhinot, see Chava Weissler, “The Traditional Poetry of Ashkenazic Women,” in Jewish Spirituality: From the Sixteenth Century Revival to the Present, ed. Arthur Green (New York: Crossroad, 1988), 2:245–75. Weissler carries the discussion forward in “Prayers in Yiddish and the Religious World of Ashkenazic Women,” in Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 159–81. Also see Weissler’s translation of several examples and her introduction in Ellen Umansky and Diane Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), 36–37; 51–55. For women’s role in Jewish law, see Rachel Biale, Women and Jewish Law (New York: Schocken Books, 1984); Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990). The best listing of the “exceptional” women who wrote despite their “exemption” was probably made by the Victorian Jewish apologists themselves. One Dr. Carmoly published a list of short biographies of “Learned Women in Israel” in the Jewish Chronicle; this was subsequently republished three times, as if to ameliorate Jewish women’s demand for recognition (Aug. 6, 1858; Oct. 12, 1860; Mar. 1, 1867; Feb. 18, 1887). The most thorough Victorian rereading of Jewish women’s intellectual role in Jewish history is Grace Aguilar’s set of biographies of biblical, Talmudic, medieval, and modern Jewish heroines, The Women of Israel 3 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1884).
12.The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), chap. 2.
13.Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988). Hertz argues that for the most part German-Jewish salonières were dilettantes rather than authors who gained standing in the literary community through “some combination of their social standing, occupation, personal charm, friendships, and unpublished writing” (159). Fanny Lewald began writing novels in Germany in the 1840s. See Deborah Hertz, “Work, Love and Jewishness in the Life of Fanny Lewald,” in From East and West: Jews in a Changing Europe 1750–1870, ed. Frances Malino and David Sorkin (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 202–20. The only work by Lewald to be translated into English is The Education of Fanny Lewald: An Autobiography, trans. and ed. Hanna Ballin Lewis (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992). In the American context, Rosa Sonneschein did not begin publishing her Jewish women’s periodical The American Jewess until 1895. Women such as Rebekah Kohut, Emma Lazarus, and Henrietta Szold also published late in the century. For discussions of these writers, see Baum, Hyman, and Michel, Jewish Woman in America; Linda Gordon Kuzmack, Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990); and Diane Lichtenstein, Writing Their Nations: The Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Jewish Women Writers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).
14.Jews of Georgian England.
15.Constructions of “the Jew” in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Catherine Gallagher, “George Eliot and Daniel Deronda: The Prostitute and the Jewish Question,” in Sex, Politics, and Science in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, ed. Ruth Bernard Yeazell (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 39–62; Bitton-Jackson, Madonna or Courtesan?; Estelle Chevelier, “Characterization of the Jew in the Victorian Novel. 1864–1876” (master’s thesis, Emory University, 1962); Joseph Gaer, The Legend of the Wandering Jew (New York: Mentor, 1961); Montagu Frank Modder, The Jew in the Literature of England: To the End of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Meridian Books, 1960); Edgar Rosenberg, From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes in English Fiction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960); Harold Fisch, The Dual Image (London: Lincolns-Prager, 1959); Harry Stone, “Dickens and the Jews,” Victorian Studies 11 (Mar. 1959): 223–53; Lauriat Lane, Jr., “Dickens’ Archetypal Jew,” PMLA 73 (Mar. 1958): 95–101; Edgar Johnson, “Dickens, Fagin and Mr. Riah,” Commentary 9 (1950): 47–50; M[eyer] J[ack] Landa, The Jew in Drama (New York: William Morrow, 1927); Edward N. Calisch, The Jew in English Literature as Author and as Subject (Richmond, Va.: Bell, 1909); David Phillipson, The Jew in English Fiction (Cincinnati: Clarke, 1889).
16.Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 23. Mary Poovey makes a similar point about turning from male representations of women to women’s representations of themselves in The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), xii.
17.Other Women: The Writing of Class, Race, and Gender, 1832–1898 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction; Margaret Homans, Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986); Mary Poovey, Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988); Dorothy Mermin, Godiva’s Ride: Women of Letters in England, 1830–1880 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993); and Susan Rubinow Gorsky, Femininity to Feminism: Women and Literature in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992).
18.Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1980). Racial representations of Jews in England began to appear somewhat later than elsewhere, especially with the rise of Disraeli to prime minister. See Cheyette, Constructions of “the Jew.” During the period, colloquially Jews were called “blacks.” These biological determinist characterizations should not be confused by the typical Victorian tendency to use the terms “race” and “nation” nonbiologically and interchangeably to describe Jews. “Nation” had the sense of a transnational community, exiled from its geographical home, the different diasporas of which shared a common language, holidays, customs, and beliefs—much the same sense as “the Jewish people” has today.
19.Madonna or Courtesan?; Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978); and Billie Melman, Women’s Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718–1918 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992).
20.Standing Again at Sinai. See also Kaplan, Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 15.
21.The Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1760–1985 (London: Valentine Mitchell, 1987), 5.
22.Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica: A Bibliographical Guide to Anglo-Jewish History (London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1937).
23.Social History, 9.
24.This did not mean that Anglo-Jewish men always agreed with each other on how community-building ought to proceed. Israel Finestein, “Anglo-Jewish Opinion” identifies the major areas of dissension.
25.Demography of Immigrants and Minority Groups in the United Kingdom, ed. D. A. Coleman (London: Academic Press, 1982), 245–62.
27.Critical Inquiry 17, no. 2 (winter 1991): 306–35.
28.Ascamot is Isaac D’Israeli, Benjamin Disraeli’s father, who refused to pay a fine levied by the Haham (leader) of the Sephardic congregation. See James Picciotto, Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (London: Trubner, 1875).
29.Sephardim of England, 261–64, describes the predominance of Sephardim in Anglo-Jewish literary life. Among other things, the Sephardim were instrumental in operating the Cheap Jewish Library, the Anglo-Jewish Press, and the Association for the Promotion of Jewish Literature (which became the Jews’ and General Literary and Scientific Institution); along with Ashkenazi scholar Morris Raphall, Sephardic Jews translated the Mishnah and the Sephardi ritual into English; and they produced or edited a volume of traditional melodies, a history of the Sephardim, a Hebrew dictionary, a Jewish calendar, novels, polemics, and a cookbook.
30.The French Enlightenment and the Jews: The Origins of Modern Anti-Semitism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), explains, Isaac de Pinto gave modern expression to this Sephardic myth in his famous response to Voltaire, when he exclaimed “that only the Portuguese were descended from the tribe of Judah, and that they had always lived apart from all the other children of Jacob, marrying only among themselves and maintaining separate synagogues” (181). “[B]eing superior to all the rest, they deserved more consideration” in French emancipation than Ashkenazim (270). As late as 1834, an Anglo-Sephardic historian of “The Origin and Progress of Literature Amongst the Jews of Spain” argues for Sephardic nobility as compared to the Ashkenazim, and uses it to argue for removal of disabilities: “However great [the Spanish Jews’] influence may have been on the other European Jews, these latter could not, during many centuries, raise themselves to that eminence of merit and dignity which the former occupied. This difference between them affords us the most convincing proof of the great influence which the consciousness of freedom, or the feeling of degradation and slavery, exercises on the minds and actions of men” (HRR 2 (1834): 158). Grace Aguilar saw a downside to the Sephardic “pride,” in that it sometimes manifested itself as “stubborness” which “renders powerless every effort made” for the “Improvement” of Sephardic poor, while the Germans are “more willing to work and push forward their own fortunes … and are more successful as citizens, and, as a class, less difficult to guide” (JC, Jan. 2, 1852, “Social Arrangements of the English Jews”).
31.Transformation of German Jewry, 86. Also see Endelman, Radical Assimilation, chap. 5; and Hyamson, Sephardim of England, 217.
32.HRR 1 : 11).
33.HRR 1 (1834): 5, 3. At one point, in the “Introduction,” Raphall expresses his belief that the Jewish people “has at all times and in all ages evinced a profound veneration for learning, and an eager thirst for the acquirement of true knowledge …; and they possess as extensive a literature … as any nation that ever existed;—a literature which we may justly characterize, as expressing the profoundest thoughts, the most pious sentiments, and the best precepts for regulating the conduct of man” (1). A cross between a musar periodical based on the ideal of traditional learnedness with a modern periodical based on the Enlightenment ideal of reasoned knowledge, with its translations of Talmudic allegories and its biographies of great rabbis, the Review was not a Reform periodical, as Raphall made clear in his introduction. M. H. Bresslau’s Hebrew Review and Magazine of Jewish Literature, which did not appear until 1859, conforms much more closely to the German Reformers’ periodicals. Its Hebrew title, Ma’asef, imitated that of the original periodical of the German Haskalah, which appeared in 1784. Anglo-Jewry did not articulate a Reform platform until half a century after German Jewry. See Sorkin, Transformation of German Jewry, 45–55.
34.Radical Assimilation, 35.
35.History of the Jews, 256–58. One must be a little careful with this last statement. There was substantial debate over the divinity of the Oral Law, which was not simply a matter of presentation. Roth sometimes seems to be attempting a retrospective healing between the two groups.
36.Geist, and culture, or Bildung, in German Jews Beyond Judaism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985). Arthur Lumley Davids, “On the Emancipation of the Jews,” letter to The Times, May 6, 1831 shows how differently Anglo-Jewish men approached the issue: “he earnestly looked for the emancipation of the Jews, as the means of developing the cramped energies of that people.” Bernard Van Oven, “Ought Baron de Rothschild to Sit in Parliament? An Imaginary Conversation between Judaeus and Amicus Nobilis” (London: Effingham Wilson, 1847), likewise uses the term “cramping” to describe the effects of persecution on Jews’ industriousness and argues that “Jews should be allowed to develop their energies for their own and the public good” (14). As poor Ashkenazic Jews immigrated to England, members of the Jewish aristocracy in London did invoke the German reform regeneration rhetoric. But in general the reform movement was much less tied to the removal of disabilities in England than it was in Germany. As the Jewish Chronicle put it in its retrospect on “Jewish Progress in the Victorian Era” (May 14, 1897), “One body of Jews fought for political equality, while another body fought for the modifications of the arrangements made by the community for its own government. But the former movement had come to a successful end before the latter had resulted in the establishment of our communal institutions as we know them to-day. And thus, the emancipation struggle can best be regarded as a history within a history, separate and complete in itself.”
37.Women of Israel, 1:12–13. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text by volume and page number.
38.JC, Nov. 8, 1861.
39.The Jewish Manual or Practical Information in Jewish and Modern Cookery, intro. by Chaim Raphael (New York: NightinGale Books, 1983), so that Jewish women could present traditional Jewish foods along with “plain English dishes; and also such French ones as are now in general use at all refined modern tables” (ii). By contrast to this notion of Jewish and English coexistence at the dinner table, gentile German intellectuals of the salon era flocked to the homes of Jewish women who were marginal to the Jewish community, who had taken steps (including in many cases conversion) to place themselves outside of it, and who focused their gatherings on celebrating and analyzing works by German Christian intellectuals. The story of the salons is told in Hertz, Jewish High Society, esp. 101 and chap. 6 passim. Kaplan, Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 31–35, describes the creation later in the nineteenth century of the middle-class German-Jewish Hausfrau, whose homemaking activities were supported by bourgeois domestic ideology as well as by Jewish tradition. This German middle-class type seems to be closer to what the upper class Montefiore was striving to convince her readers to attain; yet, it is still not the same, for like the German salonières, the Hausfrau also strives to appear more “German” and less “Jewish,” a goal that Montefiore would not have advocated.
40.Protest and Reform: The British Social Narrative by Women, 1827–1867 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985).
41.The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 318–37, argues that Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is one of the earliest examples of what he calls “progressive narrative,” the secularization of “Protestant narrative,” in which the narrator steps into the role of Providence. The novel was a form unknown to traditional Jewish writers.
42.Thanks to David Biale for this joke.
45.Madonna or Courtesan? has traced the gesture of “orientalizing” the Jewish woman back to a fundamental Christian ambivalence about Jewish women’s bodies. The gesture undoubtedly gained force with the rise of orientalism, as Said, Orientalism; and Melman, Women’s Orients, have documented.
46.Uneven Developments, 200, Poovey calls for increased attention to gender, class, race, and national identity in feminist work in order to “produce a history of ideological formulations of difference that might help us understand the impetus behind and resistances to change in ways our old histories have failed to do. This would necessarily entail … analyzing the competitions among various institutions for the right to articulate and legislate difference.”
47.The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986): “Jewish feminists and lesbians are of a diverse sort. … Disagreements are fierce; denouncements not uncommon” (9). The editors’ goal is “to express the wide range of Jewish experience and culture, and to develop more empathy and support for Jewish identities we do not share” (10). Also see Ruti Kadish, “Midrash and Feminism” (master’s thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1991). For traditional Judaism’s commitment to polysemous dialogue, see Geoffrey H. Hartman and Sanford Budick, eds., Midrash and Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986). For a useful introduction to Jewish feminism, see Susannah Heschel, ed., introduction to On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (New York: Schocken Books, 1983). Also see her essay “Feminism,” in Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought, ed. Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1987), 255–59.
1. For a comparison to other similar orientalist fantasies, see in particular Edward Said’s discussion of the novels of Flaubert and Kipling in Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978). Flaubert’s heroines are not women, but entire worlds, emblems of oriental landscapes that are sensual yet barren, willing, and mute (187, 207); Kipling’s White Men sanitize and “conquer” these sensual orientals (228).
2. The story of their parliamentary struggle is told in M. C. N. Salbstein, Emancipation of the Jews in Britain: The Question of the Admission of the Jews to Parliament, 1828–1860 (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 1981). Also see David Feldman, Englishmen and Jews: Social Relations and Political Culture, 1840–1914 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), chap. 1. Important pamphlets and letters from the 1830s wave are Francis Henry Goldsmid, The Arguments Advanced against the Enfranchisement of the Jews. Considered in a Series of Letters (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1831); John E. Blunt, A History of the Establishment and Residence of the Jews in England; with an Enquiry into their Civil Disabilities (London: Saunders and Benning, 1830); Arthur Lumley Davids, “On the Emancipation of the Jews” (Times, May 6, 1831); Thomas Babington Macaulay, Essay and Speech on Jewish Disabilities, ed. Israel Abrahams (Edinburgh: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1909); Apsley Pellat, Brief Memoir of the Jews in Relation to Their Civil and Municipal Disabilities (London: Hatchard and Son, 1829).
3. Robert Grant brought most of the motions for Jewish emancipation to the House floor. Macaulay, Essay and Speech, 44, responds to a “friend” in the House who asks “where are we to stop, if once you admit into the House of Commons people who deny the authority of the Gospels? Will you let in a Mussulman? Will you let in a Parsee? Will you let in a Hindoo, who worships a lump of stone with seven heads? I will answer my honourable friend’s question by another. Where does he mean to stop? Is he ready to roast unbelievers at slow fires? … When once you enter upon a course of persecution, I defy you to find any reason for making a halt till you have reached the extreme point.” He also compares Jewish emancipation to Catholic emancipation (54).
4. Thomas Carlyle, “The Jew Our Lawgiver” (London: Thomas Bosworth, 1853), 10–11.
5. See Michael Ragussis, “Writing Nationalist History: England, the Conversion of the Jews, and Ivanhoe,” ELH 60, no. 1 (spring 1993): 181–215. Much of the following reading of Ivanhoe concurs with Ragussis, but while Ragussis focuses on the meaning of Scott for English national identity, this chapter focuses on its meaning for Anglo-Jewish identity, particularly for the identity of women.
6. For a discussion of the Romantic wandering motif, see my “Blake’s ‘firm perswasions’: the Judaic and the Jew,” a paper given at the 1990 Modern Language Association convention. Important sources include: William Blake, The Complete Poetry and Prose, ed. David Erdman and Harold Bloom (New York: Doubleday, 1988); Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France in Two Classics of the French Revolution (New York: Doubleday, 1989); George Gordon Byron, Byron, ed. Jerome J. McGann (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) and Hebrew Melodies (London: J. Murray, 1815); Maria Edgeworth, Harrington: Tales and Novels, vol. 9 (London: G. Routledge, 1893); Walter Scott, Ivanhoe (New York: New American Library, 1983); Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, ed. Charles Frederick Harrold (New York: Odyssey Press, 1937) and “The Jew Our Lawgiver”; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” in English Romantic Writers, ed. David Perkins (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1967), 404–13; Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (New York: New American Library, 1980) and Our Mutual Friend (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989); Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor, 4 vols. (1861–62; reprint, New York: Dover, 1968).
7. The character of Shylock was undergoing a transformation on the stage at this time to make him seem more sympathetic. Professor Judith Rosen at UCLA pointed out to me that as late as 1891 this was still the case. The actress Lady Helena Faucit Martin, in her essays On Some of Shakespeare’s Female Characters (London: Blackwood and Sons, 1891), rewrote Merchant so that Portia nurses Shylock at the end and persuades him to convert.
8. For critical discussions of the stereotypes see Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of “the Jew” in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Edgar Rosenberg, From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes in English Fiction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960); Harold Fisch, The Dual Image (London: Lincolns-Prager, 1959); Lauriat Lane, Jr., “Dickens’ Archetypal Jew,” PMLA 73 (Mar. 1958): 95–101; Montagu Frank Modder, The Jew in the Literature of England: To the End of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Meridian Books, 1960); Joseph Gaer, The Legend of the Wandering Jew (New York: Mentor, 1961). See Anita Norich, “Jewish Family Images in the English Novel,” in The Jewish Family: Myths and Reality, ed. Steven M. Cohen and Paula E. Hyman (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1986), 99–109. For a critique of the critical method of cataloguing stereotypes, see Michael Ragussis, Figures of Conversion: “the Jewish Question” and English National Identity (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995). Also, see David Biale, Eros and the Jews (New York: BasicBooks, 1992), esp. 149–75.
9. Amy Levy, “The Jew in Fiction,” JC, June 4, 1886. Also see the Jewish Chronicle’s obituary of Dickens, June 17, 1870, in which the editor refers to Fagin as “the unreal character” and Riah as “the beautiful, even if equally unreal, character.”
10.Levy, “Jew in Fiction.”
11.Victorian Studies 11 (Mar. 1959): 223–53.
12.JC, Nov. 27, 1868—he removed Oliver Twist from the scheduled program on Jan. 1, 1869.
13.In the 1880s, Scott’s novel still loomed to Jews as the most influential representation of the century. See Levy, “Jew in Fiction”: “Rebecca of York, with her hopeless love for the Gentile knight, and Isaac of York, divided, like Shylock, between his ducats and his daughter, remain to day the typical Hebrews of fiction.”
14.The Romance (London: Methuen, 1970), 13. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text.
15.Jane Eyre (1847), and in a slightly different way, Wuthering Heights (1847) and Great Expectations (1861), though in these, it is the man who hales from the marginalized group (gypsies or the working class, respectively). Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) plays on the pattern in order to undermine it. In late-twentieth-century American culture, the pattern is still prevalent in Harlequin romance novels, such as Karen Percy’s In Too Deep (Toronto: Harlequin Books, 1991), in which the wealthy Joanne Stephenson falls desperately in love with Mike Balthazar, the burly working-class man who comes to build her swimming pool.
16.The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 318–37, who argues that the first “Protestant narratives,” such as Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, leave behind the more obviously Christian romance narrative, with its allegorized types. But though Victorians may indeed have understood realism to be “progressive” in contrast to romance, the “progressive narrative” of the novel was not necessarily any more politically progressive for Jews than the romance. In the movement from romance to realism, the fantasy of erasing prejudicial barriers between different groups—one dominant, one marginal—through intermarriage yields to the fantasy of regulating the barriers that actually existed between members of different groups. As Beer in Romance puts it, the opposition between romance and realism was seen “in terms of a contrast … between the individualism of romance and the inexorable processes of society” (74). In terms of the non-Jewish fiction of Jewish identity, the romance fantasy of a Christian man falling in love with a Jewish woman—the plot of Ivanhoe, which cannot be consummated and ends in exile—is eventually brought to consummation through the woman’s conversion in the philo-Semitic romances of M. G. Lewis, Thackeray, Bulwer Lytton, and others. But when romance gives way to realism, this conversionist plot of love between Jew and Christian gives way, in Daniel Deronda, to the denial of love between Jew and Christian, the denial of the romance of the title character and Gwendolyn Harleth. The intermarriage fantasy of romance gives way to a “realist” fantasy that the Jew will choose exile with his aesthetic Jewess (Mirah is compared to a picture by Titian) to some unspoken place in the East. The Jew and Jewess are reorientalized. In this way the Christian novel of Jewish identity in the early and mid-Victorian periods begins and ends with Eastern exile, with the romance fantasy of consummation and conversion intervening. The century moves from an unattainable desire for eradication of barriers in Scott (and exile to Granada) to a self-chosen maintenance of barriers in Eliot. In the movement from romance to realism, Jews’ options, apostasy or exile, remain limited.
17.Scott, Chaucer, and Medieval Romance (Kentucky: Kentucky University Press, 1987), 514; Cecil Roth, Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica: A Bibliographical Guide to Anglo-Jewish History (London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1937).
18.Ivanhoe, 403. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically within the text.
19.Madonna or Courtesan? the Jewish Woman in Christian Literature (New York: Seabury Press, 1982), 19.
20.Jewish Woman in America, 30, 36–38. Also see Ellen Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), 6–7, 83–85.
21.History in Scott’s Novels (1907). Patricia Christine Hodgell, “The Nonsense of Ancient Days: Sources of Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’ ” (Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota, 1987), says Scott has “a very cavalier attitude toward historical facts.” But the trend in most recent Ivanhoe criticism has been not to speak of the Jewish aspect of it at all, and sometimes to indicate a belief in Scott’s realistic portrayal of Rebecca. See Mitchell, Scott, Chaucer, 133, who says that “Rebecca is Scott’s most memorable dark-lady type,” and that her “love for Ivanhoe must go unrequited” because “she could never have given up her religion.” A more positive reading of Scott’s historical fiction can be found in James Kerr, Fiction against History: Scott as Storyteller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989): “the mixed genre of historical romance becomes a field in which perceived contradictions in history can be recreated and resolved. It is a zone of freedom …, the limits of which are prescribed by the taleteller’s imagination, where the ugly facts history throws in the way of the writer can be made into appealing, or at least consoling, stories about the past” (1–2).
22.Scott and His Influence, ed. J. H. Alexander (Aberdeen: Association for Scottish Literature Studies, 1983), 81, who says of Rebecca’s relating the battle at Torquilstone to Ivanhoe, that Rebecca is “an outsider, who can set in perspective the chivalric code which Ivanhoe takes for granted.”
23.Ivanhoe, with Critical Appreciations, Old and New, ed. G. K. Chesterton et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1919), 52.
24.Sir Walter Scott and History (Edinburgh: Edina Press, 1981) essentially agrees with this when he says that “The immense superiority of the Jewess Rebecca may be traced” to the fact that “she is really the representative in England of Mohammedan civilization” with “her Eastern unguent” (97). The sensual “noble savage” as described in European and American romances about American Indians is also relevant here.
25.JHer 1, no. 1 (1846): 1 states the Society’s aims: “to show the claims which the ancient people of God have on the sympathy and prayers of the Church, to diffuse information with regard to their present circumstances, both in England and elsewhere, and to record the progress of the different efforts which are made for their conversion to Christianity.” Features in this and other similar periodicals included “Intelligence” reports on the conversion meetings held and missionary work, population statistics to gauge the extent of work to be done, strategies for conversion (“Aim at the parish church in every such community, and propose a special service for the evangelising of Jews. The time, the language in which to make your appeal must be wisely and carefully settled. Raise a special fund”) HCW 1, no. 6 (1872): 83, anthropological descriptions of Jews’ festivals and customs, reports of developments in the Jewish press and within the Jewish community (particularly the advent of Reform, hailed “as an indication of coming light”) JHer 1, no. 4 (1846): 83, narratives of conversions as role models for conversionists in the field, poems by and to Jewish women, reviews of writing by Jewish women, criticism of the Jewish press for putting down Hebrew Christians, and “Historical Notices of the Wandering Jew.”
26.Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History 1656–1945 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 147.
27.Jewish Tracts (British Museum, 1866).
28.Radical Assimilation, 147–49. Endelman notes that the London Society was unlikely to appeal to wealthy would-be converts, given its reputation for working with the poor. Charlotte Montefiore provides a scathing contemporary satire of the society, questioning its motivations and methods, in Caleb Asher (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1845).
29.IW, Mar., 1877: 42.
30.Rosette and Miriam: or the Twin Sisters: A Jewish Narrative of the Eighteenth Century (London: Charles Tilt, 1837), 30. Eliphalette is the name of one of David’s daughters among the children he had after he had established Jerusalem as his capital city (2 Sam. 5:16). The name does not appear to have been in use among Victorian Jews. Bristow’s choice of an obscure biblical name for the Jewish woman suggests the conversionist myth that biblical Jews, not having rejected Christ, were still regenerate. For a more famous example of this idea from an ostensibly different perspective, see Eliot’s depiction of Mordecai’s biblical speech patterns in Daniel Deronda—the logic seems to be, the more easily a Jew can be identified with the prerabbinic Judaism of the Bible, the more redeemable the Jew is.
31.Rosette and Miriam, 279.
32.Spirit of Judaism by Grace Aguilar, JHer 2, no. 13 (1847): 28–41. Also see Marion Moss, “Lines Written by Marion Moss, A Jewess, after attending service in a Christian Chapel, Mar. 1845,” JHer 1, no. 2 (1845): 48.
33.Spirit of Judaism, 39. Also see the review of Jewish Faith, by Grace Aguilar, HJ 1 (Feb. 6, 1847): 84, “We see in it how the grand, simple faith of the ancient people of God is unfolding itself in the light of advancing intelligence; how all that was understood by them in their first ages as temporal, is becoming spiritual; all that was exclusive, widening out into universality; how they are reading their Law and their Prophets in the spirit of Him who ‘revealed the Father’ to us; and who in emphatic words declared that He came ‘not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.’ While enlightened Judaism thus advances, we see in the progress of events the spirit of Christianity purifying the doctrines adopted by its professors, exterminating the dark errors of the times of persecution and hatred.” It is significant that such a philo-Semitic statement appears in a nonmissionary journal; it suggests that philo-Semitism was mainstream.
34.IW, Mar., 1877: 43.
35.See Ragussis, “Representation, Conversion.”
36.Nathan the Wise, trans. Bayard Quincy Morgan (New York: Continuum, 1988); Edgeworth, Harrington, vol. 9. For post-Scott conversionist novels, see William Makepeace Thackeray, “Rebecca and Rowena,” in Burlesques (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1895), 305–66; Edward Bulwer Lytton, Leila, or the Siege of Granada (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1875); M. G. Lewis, The Jewish Maiden, 4 vols. (London: A. K. Newman, 1830); Bristow, Rosette and Miriam.
37.Jewish Maiden, will be made parenthetically in the text, by volume and page number.
38.Orientalism, 207: “The Oriental was linked … to elements in Western society (delinquents, the insane, women, the poor) having in common an identity best described as lamentably alien. Orientals … were seen through, analyzed not as citizens, or even people, but as problems to be solved or confined. … Since the Oriental was a member of a subject race, he had to be subjected. … [W]omen are usually the creatures of a male power-fantasy. They express unlimited sensuality, they are more or less stupid, and above all they are willing.” See also Bitton-Jackson, Madonna or Courtesan? For a wide-ranging set of essays on minority discourse, also see Cultural Critique, ed. David Lloyd and Abdul JanMohammed, (spring-fall): 1987.
39.Romance, has shown that all these forms of romance have a common historical source.
40.Rosette and Miriam, where the condescension reaches unbearable heights: “It will be seen … how deep is the darkness which envelopes Israel. … Oh that every Christian bosom may be touched with pity … to remove that awful darkness!—Gentile Christians! … pity your exiled, dispersed, and despised elder brethren!” (76).
41.See Grace Aguilar, dedication to “Adah, A Simple Story,” 1838, Grace Aguilar MSS, where she argues that Scott’s Rebecca is the most positive role model she has ever read about in non-Jewish writings.
42.Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). Deborah Hertz, in Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 204–50, and “Emancipation through Intermarriage in Old Berlin,” in Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 182–201, shows that for a tiny proportion of wealthy young Jewish women in Berlin at the end of the eighteenth century, intermarriage and social integration via conversion were possible, but women with less wealth could not use conversion as an end. By contrast, English conversionism was directed toward the poor and the middle classes. Another point of contrast between English and German conversionism: most converts among the salonières had already been married to Jewish men through an arranged marriage and had divorced them before converting to marry gentile men in what appear to be companionate marriages (Jewish High Society, 156–203). English conversionists, on the other hand, depict Jewish women abandoning their families (particularly their fathers) for a companionate marriage with a gentile the first time around.
1. Proverbs 31 was a standard passage for such defenses of Judaism’s attitude toward women at the time. See Charlotte Montefiore’s exposition of the same passage in A Few Words to the Jews. By One of Themselves (London: John Chapman, 1855), chap. 7, 161–68; also Grace Aguilar’s tombstone bears the epithet from Proverbs 31, “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates,” according to Rachel Beth Zion Lask Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 16 (1952): 137–48.
2. The Jewish notion is both similar to and different from the Victorian Christian separation of spheres. See Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 18. Differences will be described in text.
3. Jacob A. Franklin, “Position of Israel’s Women,” VoJ, Sept. 25, 1846. In a review of Spirit of Judaism, by Grace Aguilar, VoJ, Apr. 1, 1842, the editor had argued that she had “occasionally exaggerated apprehensions of the success of those who would apostasize us.” Perhaps his view of Sephardic women’s constancy in the Inquisition informs this position—but it seems to me Aguilar could respond that he was not on the brunt end of much of the conversionists’ efforts.
4. See Isaac D’Israeli, Genius of Judaism (London: Edward Moxon, 1833), 170–73.
5. Jacob A. Franklin, “Women and Judaism,” VoJ, Apr. 9, 1847. In contrast to the editor’s view, the Jewish feminist translator Marcia Falk, in the preface to The Song of Songs: A New Translation and Interpretation (San Francisco: Harper, 1990), xiv, argues that the Song is really a collection of love poems in many distinct voices, that it does not narrate a single passionate affair between two lovers.
6. Jacob A. Franklin, “Israel’s Women,” VoJ, Dec. 4, 1846.
7. See Rachel Biale, Women and Jewish Law (New York: Schocken Books, 1984): “The life of any traditional Jew, whether a man or a woman, is guided, even dictated, by the mitzvot (the commandments). The mitzvot encompass almost all conceivable spheres of human activity, and through prohibitions and prescriptions fashion private and public Jewish life, often down to the most minute details” (11).
8. Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel trace a similar motivation for the American reform movement’s outreach to women in The Jewish Woman in America (New York: Dial Press, 1976), 17–34. The locus classicus of the mainstream Victorian separation of spheres is John Ruskin, “Of Queens’ Gardens,” in The Literary Criticism of John Ruskin, ed. Harold Bloom (New York: Da Capo Press, 1965), 182–213.
9. Billie Melman speaks of the effects of Evangelicalism on the gender coding of religion in “Evangelical Travel and the Evangelical Construction of Gender,” in Women’s Orients: English Women and the Middle East, 1718–1918 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), 166.
10.HRJ, Nov. 2–Dec. 9, 1859.
12.The Transformation of German Jewry, 1740–1880 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), cites a similar shift in German-Jewish attitudes.
13.A new selective reading of Proverbs 31 is developed by the Victorians, still pointing to her role in the home, but now deemphasizing her role in the marketplace and bringing into relief her special charitable role among the poor: “she stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31 turns out to be a flexible document.
14.JC, May 5, 1865. For a more thorough discussion of the traditionalist position, see my reading of Nathan Meritor’s scathing critique of Jewish women’s education in The Hasty Marriage; A Sketch of Modern Jewish Life (London: Mann Nephews, 1857), to follow.
15.VoJ, Apr. 1, 1842.
16.Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 172–75.
17.Nehemiah 8:2–3: “And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding. … And he read therein … before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.”
18.Sermons Preached on Various Occasions at the West London Synagogue of British Jews 4 vols. (London: R. Groombridge and Sons, 1851), esp. vol. 1.
19.JC, August 1, 1856.
20.Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 211.
21.The list first appeared Aug. 6, 1858; it was subsequently reprinted three times: Oct. 12, 1860; Mar. 1, 1867; Feb. 18, 1887. “Our Communal Weekly Gossip” appears on Oct. 26, 1860.
22.JC, Apr. 2, 1852. For a similar sentiment among German-Jewish men, see Kaplan, “Tradition and Transition,” 213.
23.Papers Read at the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, Royal Albert Hall (London: Jewish Chronicle, 1888), proving that Arthur is based on King David and that Merlin is based on the Talmudic tale of Solomon and Ashmedai. “This new epical literature soon conquered Europe, and brought about a great change in social life, through the spirit of refined chivalry it breathed. … Fairies, and all that is akin to them, appeared for the first time; the exaggerated fantastic worship of women; in one word, romantic fiction came into the world.” Perhaps the great change in social life is the change in Jewish men, who at first disclaimed chivalry absolutely and here claim to have invented it.
24.JC, Nov. 8, 1861.
25.Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica: A Bibliographical Guide to Anglo-Jewish History (London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1937) for examples.
26.JC, Apr. 18, 1862.
27.Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990), asks: “are there feminist reasons why law … should or should not be a central religious category in a feminist Judaism? What considerations are relevant to the question of whether, when ‘women add our voices to tradition, halakhah will be our medium of expression and repair?’ ” (61).
28.Writing Their Nations: The Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Jewish Women Writers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 27.
29.The Spirit of Judaism, ed. Isaac Leeser, 3d ed. (Philadelphia, 1864), 6. For a biography of Leeser, see Maxwell Whiteman, “Isaac Leeser and the Jews of Philadelphia: A Study in National Jewish Influence,” in Abraham J. Karp, ed., The Jewish Experience in America III: The Emerging Community (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1969), 27–62.
30.JA, 209. See JHer 2, no. 13 (1847): 39.
31.Spirit of Judaism was “a collaboration,” though it is difficult to see how both benefited from the exchange. Weinberger argues that Aguilar’s thought changed because of Leeser’s editorial criticisms on her views of Moses, the Oral Law, need of an English Bible, free vs. fixed prayer, Judaism’s attitude toward Christianity, and other issues. This would seem to me to argue both that Aguilar learned something and that the censorship was effective. A certain range of experience—that of a middle-class reformist Jewish woman who was an avid reader—was systematically altered to fit a traditionalist line.
32.The effect of translation on women’s educational options will be discussed more fully in chap. 4.
33.Jewish Sabbath Journal,” JC, July 7, 1854.
34.JC, Aug.–Oct., 1854.
35.Tribute, Ladies of the Society for the Religious Instruction of Jewish Youth, Charleston, South Carolina, Nov. 23, 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.
36.JC, May 28, 1869: “Jewish literature has been too long and too needlessly neglected in England. The generation which has at this epoch attained maturity has … shown too little regard for the monumental intellect of its ancestry.”
37.JC, Nov. 17, 1854.
38.JC, Nov. 24, 1854.
39.Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press), 1990, has argued that Rosa Sonneschein’s American Jewess, which first appeared in 1895, was the first Jewish women’s periodical. Presumably, the Jewish Sabbath Journal was unfamiliar to her.
40.JSJ, Mar. 22, 1855.
41.JSJ, Apr. 19, 1855. See A Lady of the Jewish Faith, “A Lesson for the Israelites,” JSJ, Apr. 11, 1855. See Marion Hartog, “Hannah Rosenheim,” JSJ, June 8, 1855.
42.JSJ, Apr. 4, 1855: “Stella—Your tale has some pretty incidents, but is too disjointed. Do not be discouraged; try again, and most likely you will succeed better.” She uses the correspondence section to communicate directly with submitters and readers.
43.JSJ, Mar. 22, 1855: “We have much gratification in informing you, that the Rev. Chief Rabbi has personally expressed to us his entire approbation of the Sabbath Journal and its objects.”
44.JC, Aug. 23, 1895, gave somewhat different reasons for the end of her career: “She … tried to combine her literary and scholastic pursuits by editing the Jewish Sabbath Journal, but cares of her school and her young and growing family absorbed all her time. She was ambitious to train up a set of high-minded girls and boys who should be ornaments to the nation from which they sprang, and who, by their culture, refinement, and enthusiastic love of the good and the beautiful, would be known as ‘Madame Hartog’s pupils’ wherever they were to be met. To this aim she devoted her life. It was a choice between her literary ambition and the still nobler one, and she chose the latter, and so we find her soon giving up the Sabbath Journal and devoting herself to her pupils and children.” The biographer omits the debacle with Benisch and places Hartog’s motivations back in the realm of the ideologically dominant—the realm of the moral governess choosing her proper sphere over the male sphere of “literary ambition.”
45.JC, Apr. 11, 1856.
46.JC, May 5, 1871.
47.JC, Jan. 1, 1864.
48.JC, Mar. 12, 1875. Grace Aguilar responded directly to the question of whether women’s participation in the public sphere (the mind) was consistent with refinement of the heart in “The Authoress,” Home Scenes and Heart Studies (London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1894), 243: her heroine, Clara Stanley, proves “to the full how very possible it is for woman to unite” literary pursuits in the public sphere with domesticity in the private sphere.
49.JC, Jan. 15, 1875.
50.JC, Feb. 25, 1876.
51.HRJ, June 29, 1860. Also see Michael McKeon, The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), esp. chaps. 1–3.
52.HRR 1 (1834): 145–52.
53.Memoir of Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, ed. Louisa Goldsmid, 2d ed. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, 1882). Isaac founded the Association for Removing Civil Disabilities. Francis wrote several emancipationist pamphlets, became the first Jew called to the Bar, and founded the first Reform synagogue in England.
54.VoJ, Apr. 12, 1844, Nov. 7, 1845.
55.JC, Aug. 10, 1855.
56.JC, lead article, Mar. 8, 1850. Also see Hertz Ben Pinchas, “Encouragement of Literature among the Jews,” JC, Mar. 27, 1850; lead article, “Jewish Literary Society,” JC, May 31, 1850; lead article, “Progress of Literature Among the Jews,” JC, Oct. 18, 1850. Only the last mentioned article includes women writers among its concerns.
57.Critical Inquiry (spring 1994): 493–95.
58.Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History (London: Trubner, 1875).
59.Works, with a view of the life and writings of the author, by his son, the Right Hon. B. Disraeli (New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son, 1881), 2:33.
60.Genius of Judaism. Subsequent references will be cited by page number parenthetically in the text. For some reason, this volume is not included in his son’s edition of his Works.
61.Curiosities of Judaism, Facts, Opinions, Anecdotes, and Remarks Relative to the Hebrew Nation (London: Wertheimer, Lea, 1879).
62.Alroy and Ixion (London: Longmans, Green, 1846); and Tancred, or, The New Crusade (London: Longmans, Green, 1880).
63.Disraeli (New York: Stein and Day, 1982), chap. 1.
64.JC, Aug. 18, 1876. Five years earlier, an article acknowledged that earlier generations of English Jews had criticized Disraeli, but championed him for having “honoured the race from which he sprung. … He did for us Jews what we Jews had not the courage or intelligence or perhaps the opportunity to do for ourselves—he lifted the veil which concealed our glorious past from our worldly present” (JC, Aug. 11, 1871). While claiming a connection, this still asserts a distance. The recuperation took some time.
65.Midrash and Literature, ed. Geoffrey H. Hartmann and Sanford Budick (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), 41–76.
66.HRR 2, (1835): 41–42.
67.Legends of the Jews 7 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1928–66), 5:34, 36; 1:23–24. See also Grace Aguilar’s use and revision of this legend, “The Spirit of Night,” in Home Scenes, 369–74.
68.JC, Mar. 22, 1861.
69., Jephthah and His Daughter: A Study in Comparative Literature (Newark: University of Delaware, 1948), which covers virtually every reference to the story from antiquity to the 1950s, anywhere in the world. It shows that there was an explosion of references in England in the nineteenth century.
70.JC, July 29, 1864. Also, the tale appeared five years later in a poetic rendition as “Jephtha’s Daughter,” JC, Jan. 1, 1869. For other contemporary versions of the story, see Lord Byron, “Jephtha’s Daughter,” in Hebrew Melodies (London: J. Murray, 1815), 13–14, a remarkable poem, written in the daughter’s voice. See Celia and Marion Moss, “The Slave,” Romance of Jewish History, 3 vols. (London: A. K. Newman, 1843), 135, in which the floor of the queen’s chamber is decorated by a “carpet, worked in various colours, with the spectacle of Jeptha sacrificing his daughter.” Later, a murder is very nearly committed on the carpet.
71.JC, Apr. 21, 1871.
72.The Hasty Marriage; A Sketch of Modern Jewish Life (London: Mann Nephews, 1857), 41. All subsequent references will be made parenthetically in the text.
73.Fiction without Romance; or, the Locket-Watch, 2 vols. (London, 1830): her heroine Eliza Desbro receives a proposal from a man she does not love, but “she was not so romantic, as to suppose there could be no happiness for her, independent of him” (2:85)—especially since by marrying him she can please her uncle. The antiromance replaces individualistic attachments with duty to family and community. Also see Judith Montefiore, The Jewish Manual or Practical Information in Jewish and Modern Cookery, intro. Chaim Raphael (New York: NightinGale Books, 1983), iii.
74.Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought, ed. Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1987), 1–6.
76.Fiction without Romance, 1:42.
77.The Times, May 6, 1831: “he earnestly looked for the emancipation of the Jews, as the means of developing the cramped energies of that people.” Bernard Van Oven, “Ought Baron de Rothschild to Sit in Parliament? An Imaginary Conversation between Judaeus and Amicus Nobilis” (London: Effingham Wilson, 1847), likewise uses the term “cramping” to describe the effects of persecution on Jews’ industriousness and argues that “Jews should be allowed to develop their energies for their own and the public good” (14).
1. In these public calls for increased female education, middle-class Anglo-Jewish women both resembled and differed from their German counterparts. As Marion A. Kaplan argues in The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 42–57, for German-Jewish women of the 1890s as for Anglo-Jewish women of the 1850s, “motherhood was central to the definition of Jewish womanhood.” And just as for the earlier generation of Anglo-Jewish women, the responsibility for child rearing and a child’s moral education was central to the definition of Jewish motherhood. Both groups attempted to pass on middle-class notions of respectability to their children. But while Anglo-Jewish women desired and were expected to pass on Jewish religious knowledge and values, German-Jewish women were expected to pass on the value of self-education or cultivation called Bildung rather than religious knowledge. In this “secular” knowledge of Dickens, Scott, and Goethe, German-Jewish women were self-taught, so they did not feel the need to call for the extension of female education. Also, women in Germany were responsible for the “informal transmission of Judaism—affective, private, and personal, including foods, family, and hearth” (70–71) while Anglo-Jewish women seem to have been responsible also for introducing daughters and sons to Jewish texts. The greater existence of anti-Semitism in Germany than in England seems to have led German-Jewish mothers to downplay the elements of their education that were specifically Jewish. At the same time, German liberalism and emancipation lagged behind by about forty years. For a discussion of men’s relation to Bildung, see George L. Mosse, German Jews beyond Judaism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985).
2. “Miss Abigail Lindon’s Dictionary,” JC, Apr. 3, 1846. Götthold Salomon, Twelve Sermons Delivered in the New Temple of the Israelites, at Hamburgh, trans. Anna Maria Goldsmid (London: John Murray, 1839). Goldsmid believes “that religious education can be best conducted at home” (iii) by “mothers, whose especial vocation it is, diligently and lovingly to foster true piety in the hearts of their children” (iii). Her argument is that female education is needed to fulfil maternal duties.
3. See Marion Hartog, “To the Reader,” JSJ, Feb. 22, 1855: “Alone, at present, in this onerous undertaking, I hope soon to see myself surrounded by a band of friends and cooperators. Israel has gifted sons, and daughters too, with minds full of high and holy aspirations for the benefit of the rising generation. To these I appeal for aid” (1). Several men wrote, but by far the majority of contributors to the Journal were women.
4. JC, Apr. 11, 1856.
5. VoJ, July 2, 1847. “The Two Pictures” also appears in the JSJ, Apr. 19 to May 10, 1855.
6. See Celia and Marion Moss, dedication to Romance of Jewish History, 3 vols., 2nd ed. (London: A.K. Newman, 1843); and see Grace Aguilar, in the dedication to her third novel-length tale, “Adah, A Simple Story,” 1838, Grace Aguilar MSS. Maria Polack responded to Ivanhoe with an antiromance, Fiction without Romance; or, the Locket-Watch (1830).
7. “Marion Hartog, from a Correspondent,” JC, Aug. 23, 1895.
8. Ibid.; “Death of Marion Hartog,” JC, Nov. 1, 1907. Numa Hartog, Marion’s son, was a community hero for having won the seat of Senior Wrangler at Cambridge after challenging the University Tests Act. Her daughter, Helena Darmesteter, was a well-known portrait painter, and Marcus Hartog, her son, was known for scientific studies.
9. Celia Levetus, introduction to The King’s Physician and Other Tales (Birmingham: T. Hinton, 1865).
10.Madonna or Courtesan? the Jewish Woman in Christian Literature (New York: Seabury Press, 1982), 33.
11.Fiction Without Romance; or, the Locket-Watch, 2 vols. (London, 1830): “endeavoured, as much as possible, to keep within the limits of simplicity; for, were I to soar above the mediocrity of my power, my ignorance would soon be detected and despised.… I shall receive [criticism] as the wholesome chastisement which a judicious tutor bestows on the pupil whom he wishes to train towards proficiency.”
12.The Vale of Cedars, or, the Martyr (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1851).
13.Twelve Sermons, trans. Anna Maria Goldsmid.
17.For cramping as an emancipationist term, see intro., n. 35; and chap. 2, n. 76.
18.King’s Physician, Jacob’s father has been taken prisoner by Ernest Von Adheim, Count of Wolfstein, for lending him money and requiring repayment. Jacob sets about trying to free him, a dangerous task both for himself and the community. He gets an audience with the duke, who agrees to send his guards to look for Jacob’s father at Wolfstein’s castle. The guards search but cannot find Jacob’s father, and Jacob is about to be delivered to Wolfstein as a liar, but says the Shema and prays that his father’s “spirit may reveal itself to me for one moment; so that I may know I die not accusing the innocent” (166). His prayer is granted: when he stamps his foot on the ground a secret trap door is sprung, revealing his father’s dead body. Wolfstein is punished. Jacob settles down and “his descendants are still to be found, amongst whom his history is still told, with pride in his courage and filial piety” (167). The story of the search for the dead father is what is passed down here; a literary folk tradition replaces study of Torah.
19.Tales of Jewish History, by Celia and Marion Moss, 3 vols. (London: Miller and Field, 1843), 1:225. Subsequent references will be cited by volume and page number within the text.
20.Madonna or Courtesan? esp. 69–80. Bitton-Jackson does not identify the characteristics of La Belle Juive as “oriental,” but does remark that her “perfection of feminine beauty” was supposed to have originated “in the ‘cradle of mankind’ ”—that is, the East. The fictional Jewish woman’s “ultimate function without exception is that of dispensing love” (72), and like Mary Magdalene, she is the sensual woman redeemed. The Mosses adopt this tradition uncritically as romantic. It is one aspect of their assimilation.
21.Early Efforts. A Volume of Poems By the Misses Moss, of the Hebrew Nation. Aged 18 and 16 (London: Whittaker, 1839), in such poems as “The Jewish Captive Song” and these lines from “The Conclusion” (144):
’Tis long since Judah’s children sung
Their songs within a stranger-land;
Too long her harp hath been unstrung,
Awakened by no minstrel hand.
Tho’ all unskill’d to strike the string,
Tho’ all as yet unknown to fame,
Scorn not the offering that we bring,
Though poor and lowly be the strain.
O do not spurn our untaught lay,
Though clad in simple garb it seem;
For Judah’s bards are pass’d away,
And we are not what they have been.
22.Godiva’s Ride: Women of Letters in England, 1830–1880 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 108, points out that while religion could bind women to their father’s authority, it could also “authorize resistance to patriarchal authority, including husbands’ and fathers’,” as it does here.
23.Tales, Moss, 2:203–3:186; discussion to follow in text.
24.JC, June 13, 1902, which says the Mosses produced “works on Jewish history … at a time when the literature on this subject was almost terra incognita.” Grace Aguilar mined the one potential source, the renditions of Aggadot, or Talmudic apologues, to be found in Morris Raphall’s periodical HRR. In particular, she chose to base two tales on Aggadot that focused on gender relations, rewriting the Aggadah’s gender politics to her satisfaction—see chap. 4.
26.Romance. Also see Aguilar, preface to “Adah”: “ ‘I know but one Author,’ you once said, ‘whose portrait of a Jewess pleased me, and that was Sir Walter Scott. The modern tales in which that race is introduced, are written by Christians, who know nothing of, and are consequently prejudiced against them.’ From the hour that observation was made Adah has been present to my imagination.”
27.King’s Physician, by Levetus, JC, Aug. 4, 1865. The reviewer first gives a historical overview of popular vernacular Jewish literature, directed toward unlettered men, women, and children, and then applies the notion of a vernacular Jewish literature to his own day:
Although for centuries excluded from all participation in the movements of the nations among which the Jews lived, yet did they enjoy an inner life stirred up by powerful currents of its own. … Theology, science, and poetry were alike cultivated by them; but … these were generally treated in an idiom unintelligible to the unlettered among them and to women and children. … The mass only understood the language of the country, and the literature … had consequently to be presented to them in the vernacular; and such a literature every larger section of Israel possessed. And even as this literature was the creation of a popular mind, so it was its reflection. … [I]n those countries in which Israel had entered the general human family no special literature was needed for it. The general national life also throbbed in its veins. But what of those matters constituting Israel as a race and a creed, with a history, a mission, hopes, and aspirations of its own? Israel’s special life, which could no longer partake of the mental food of bygone ages, required savoury meat suitable to the new taste. And this savoury meat is now being prepared. Here are some morsels. … “The King’s Physician” will meet with the approbation of those who feel the want of that special Jewish literature tending to bring out the latent Jewish feeling, to foster and intensify it. (emphasis added)
Although Linda Gertner Zatlin, The Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Jewish Novel (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981), 40, claims the Mosses’ work did not address a Jewish audience, this reviewer seems to feel otherwise.
28.Romance, 1: 128, 142.
29.Tales, 2:280, 236.
30.Romance, 14. See also Levetus, “The Martyrs of Worms: A German Tale,” King’s Physician, in which the father is described as “of a despised and degraded nation, and although yet in the prime and vigour of life, the bowed head and stooping body of him who stood before the haughty noble showed a consciousness of humiliation and self-abasement” (85). Here the father is the very opposite of a tyrant—but in his humiliated state, still untrustworthy in time of crisis, as far as the daughter is concerned. From a sociological perspective, it might be possible to explain this emphasis on fathers’ absence and powerlessness by suggesting that since fathers’ major roles in the separation of spheres were outside the home, the daughters would have felt abandoned by them whose primary commitments were in the public rather than the private sphere. For a similar argument, see Kaplan, Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 53. An approach focused less on the effect of economic specialization within middle-class families in general and more on the effect of the Mosses’ father’s personality might suggest that his burning of their books indicated to his daughters that he could not be trusted to understand their emotional needs.
31.King’s Physician, 82–121. Zillah’s father has been killed in a pogrom in Frankfort and she has been brought up by Judah, a wealthy Jew. In his crisis with the authorities she gives him her inheritance, saying, “Am I not … thy child? when the cruel people of Frankfort slew my father, didst thou not protect my mother and myself …? and when I called for my father, didst thou not say, I will be thy father, poor or orphan?’ and since that day have I not been as a child to thee? have not I looked upon thee with the love and reverence I should have paid to the dead?’ ” In one after another of these tales, the biological father must be dead so that a truly loving father/daughter bond can be established by contract.
32.Anglo-Jewish Novel, claims that the Mosses’ “weakly executed” (31) tales only address a non-Jewish audience and are purely “propaganda fiction” (40) without relevance to the Jews’ own community. “Female Jews are always noble. … Noble Jews receive a temporal reward. The men conquer their enemies; the women are rescued” (32). This unrealistic propaganda fiction is characterized, Zatlin argues, by a “reliance on stereotypes, didacticism, and heavy-handed direct address” (4) and the characters lack a deep characterization. But to fault the tales for not conforming to the standards of novelistic realism is to fault them for achieving exactly what they set out to do. One must understand the development of their historical romance genre, with all its conventions, in its own rich soil, as a particularly Jewish female response to a particular set of historical conditions. Not to attempt this is to condescend to history and set a critic’s own literary critical limits on the past. Besides being remarkable documents of early reform, written in a decade of Victorian women’s leadership in reform (see Joseph Kestner, Protest and Reform: The British Social Narrative by Women, 1827–1867 [Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985]), many of these tales are immensely enjoyable.
33.The Romance (London: Methuen, 1970), speaking of Don Quixote as the emblem of romance: “Don Quixote represents the idealization of the self, the refusal to doubt inner experience, the tendency to base any interpretation of the world upon personal will, imagination and desire, not upon an empirical and social consensus of experience” (42).
34.JSJ, Mar. 22, 1855.
35.Anglo-Jewish Novel, argues that with respect to the novels of Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick, Samuel Gordon, and Isidore Ascher, their work “indicates the Jewish woman’s need to control herself” (54). She has become a domineering social climber, busybody, and henpecker—the misogynist take on the “New Woman,” in fact.
36.King’s Physician, 61. Subsequent references will appear in the text. Also see Aguilar, Vale of Cedars, in which the Jewish heroine, Marie Henrique Morales, never dares breathe her affection for Arthur Stanley the Christian Englishman but dutifully marries a Jewish man and dies for love.
37.Romantic Imprisonment: Women and Other Glorified Outcasts (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 84–85.
38.Women of Israel, 3 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1884); Marion Hartog’s Jewish Sabbath Journal; and Charlotte Montefiore, A Few Words to the Jews. By One of Themselves (London: John Chapman, 1855).
39.Romance, who tells “those sweet tales of our people which none can tell so well as thou” (1:24). Rachael, in Celia Moss, “The Priest’s Adopted,” Romance, inspires the deformed grandson of a king to speak against his Babylonian oppressors by “pour[ing] into his eager ears the tales of past power and splendour of Judea” (2:26). Ramah, in Marion Moss, “The Promise; A Tale of the Restoration,” Romance, has a “high and intellectual” forehead, and a “gifted and sensitive mind” (2:84). Mattathias, father of the Macabbees, in Celia Moss, “The Asmoneans,” Romance, tells his daughter Imla that “I have instructed thee in all the truths of our blessed religion. I have taught thee to revere the will of the Almighty, and honour his laws” (2:134). Kesiah, in Celia Moss, “The Pharisee, or, Judea Capta,” Tales, is a slave who is a “woman of strong understanding … who, while preserving a warm attachment to her native country and her own religion, had not disdained to adorn her mind with the beauties of Greek and Latin authors” (2:217). She teaches the children all she knows, and in the crisis of the narrative, she captures the traitor Elias, an orthodox man who would have betrayed her to the Romans.
40.In the Bible, Tamar is Absalom’s sister. Abia seems to be Celia Moss’s invention.
41.Romance 1:132. See Grace Aguilar, “The Escape,” in Home Scenes and Heart Studies (London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1894), 162–85, in which the heroine, Almah, cross-dresses as her husband’s servant, the male Moor Hassan Ben Ahmed, in order to save her husband Alvar from death in the Inquisition. While Abia is rewarded for her adventure, the result of Almah’s transvestism is much more ambiguous—first, because she dresses the part of a servant, and of a member of another race, and second, because as soon as Alvar is freed she basically is rendered unconscious for the duration of the tale.
43.JHer 1, no. 2 (1846): 48.
44.Emancipation of the Jews in Britain: The Question of the Admission of the Jews to Parliament, 1828–1860 (Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Press, 1981).
46.King’s Physician, 59–80. Note the similarity to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, written approximately at the same time. Both texts attempt to offset women’s powerlessness by disempowering the suitor, opening the way for what Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar call “the marriage of true minds,” The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 371.
47.Romance, 23–25. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text.
48.Throughout their tales, the Mosses claim the “Eastern” quality of their Jewish female characters. It was a long-standing tradition of anti-Semitic discourse to orientalize the Jewish woman, but the Mosses seem to adopt that convention uncritically themselves.
49.The Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1760–1985 (London: Valentine Mitchell, 1987).
50.Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 108, suggests that the transition from arranged marriages to “modern” marriages based on love and “accident” was also taking place among German Jews, perhaps a bit more slowly than in the more liberal English atmosphere.
51.VoJ, Apr. 9, 1847, the year of Aguilar’s death, assumes her history was written by a man: “The writer is evidently perfectly acquainted with his subject.”
52.Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 16 (1952): 137–48.
53.Twelve Sermons, trans. Anna Maria Goldsmid. Goldsmid calls (1) for publication of sermons to promote “home instruction” and “the formation of the religious character of the young,” citing the need for vernacular religious education; and (2) for more English explanations of Judaism, in the “hope, that from their perusal, many of my Christian countrymen may derive a better knowledge than they previously possessed, of the actuating faith of the Jew” (iv). David Woolf Marks, Sermons Preached on Various Occasions at the West London Synagogue of British Jews, 4 vols. (London: R. Groombridge and Sons, 1851), in a prefatory note, calls (1) for vernacular sermons to furnish “Jewish families with the means of home instruction,” citing the “dearth of Jewish discourses in the English language;” and (2) for the “setting forth a fair exposition of the doctrines which are taught in our synagogue,” citing “misrepresentations concerning our opinions and practices” (v), both among other Jews and Christians. That is, he repeats Goldsmid’s terms exactly.
54.Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 72, points out that German-Jewish women had been producing cookbooks since 1815.
55.Cheap Jewish Library after her death. See “The Late Charlotte Montefiore,” JC, Sept. 23, 1864. In the same article he reveals the correspondence between her and Grace Aguilar.
56.JC, Nov. 10, 1854; “Lines on the Death of Lady Montefiore,” JC, Oct. 24, 1862; the “Correspondence” section of each issue of the JSJ.
57.Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press), 1990.
58.JC, July 1, 1864, reprinted from Christian Work, June 1864; and “Jewish Women’s Work in Philanthropy and Education,” JC, June 13, 1902, a retrospective, primarily on the Mosses. For the pressure Jewish women could bring to bear on men, see for example American reform founder Isaac Mayer Wise, Reminiscences, ed. David Philipson (Cincinnati: Leo Wise and Company, 1901), 215, who records a meeting with a “bevy of Portuguese Jewesses” who convince him to edit the Reform journal the Asmonean, and later convince him to write a volume of Jewish history.
59.JSJ, May 24, 1855.
60.Mrs. R. Hyneman, Philadelphia, Nov. 8, 1847; Female Hebrew Benevolent Society of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Nov. 3, 1847; Ladies of the Society for the Religious Instruction of Jewish Youth, Charleston, South Carolina, Nov. 23, 1847. All from Grace Aguilar MSS.
61.JC, Oct. 8, 1847).
62.The Jews of Georgian England, 1714–1830 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989). Also see David Sorkin, The Transformation of German Jewry, 1780–1840 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 175: “English Jewry did not generate a significant Haskala movement. And lacking the political pressures of a comprehensive emancipation process—emancipation turned on the ability to hold office … — English Jewry experienced no conspicuous ideological ferment.”
1. See Ellen Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women’s Spirituality (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992). Also see Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz, Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers (Sunnyside, New York: Biblio Press, 1990), 229–35.
2. Unless otherwise noted, all biographical details come from Rachel Beth Zion Lask Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute,” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 16 (1952): 137–45.
3. Traditional Judaism always focused women’s roles in the home as Marion A. Kaplan points out in “Tradition and Transition: Jewish Women in Imperial Germany,” in Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 205–6. But the hegemonically valued space was the public space of the synagogue and yeshiva. The mother-centered nature of the crypto-Jewish tradition is well documented. See Renée Levine Melammed, “Sephardi Women in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods,” Jewish Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Judith Baskin (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991), 115–34. Lynn Gottlieb, “The Secret Jew: An Oral Tradition of Women,” in On Being a Jewish Feminist, ed. Susannah Heschel (New York: Schocken Books, 1983) writes: “The women of the Marrano communities thought of themselves as Queen Esther, living a secret existence very different from the reality perceived by the outside world. … [W]omen did assume major leadership roles in the community. They led communal prayers, performed marriage ceremonies, and developed rituals around the Fast of Esther, which became a major conversos holiday” (274). Also see Cecil Roth, A History of the Marranos (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947); and the recent film The Last Marranos, which made a rare appearance at the Jewish Film Festival in Berkeley, Aug. 1992, and vividly depicts the continuance of the matriarchal tradition in the late twentieth century among Portuguese crypto-Jews.
4. In the United States as well as in England, the cultural designation of “Mother in Israel” resonated with the particularly Jewish functions of True Womanhood. For a discussion of the American meaning of this phrase, see Diane Lichtenstein, Writing Their Nations: The Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Jewish Women Writers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 23–35. Also see Rachel Adler, “A Mother in Israel: Aspects of the Mother Role in Jewish Myth,” in Beyond Androcentrism: New Essays on Women and Religion, ed. Rita M. Gross (Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press for the American Academy of Religion, 1977), 237–55.
5. Linda Gertner Zatlin, The Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Jewish Novel (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981), 35–37.
6. An example of a conversionist’s thick description can be found in Madam Brendlah, Tales of a Jewess; Illustrating the Domestic Customs and Manners of the Jews: Interspersed with Original Anecdotes of Napoleon (London: Simpkin and Marshall, 1838).
7. A. J. Isaacs, Young Champion (New York, 1933).
8. Grace Aguilar, The Spirit of Judaism, ed. Isaac Leeser, 3d ed. (Philadelphia, 1864), 121–22. Subsequent references will be cited by page number parenthetically in the text.
9. Christian women had in the figure of Mary a prime example of a woman who literally transmitted “the Word” of cultural tradition without displaying subjectivity. See Margaret Homans, Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 156.
10.The Education of Fanny Lewald: An Autobiography, trans. and ed. Hanna Ballin Lewis, SUNY Series, Women Writers in Translation (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), makes for interesting comparison. Both Aguilar and Lewald were home-educated and from the middle class. To use domesticity to defend against conversion was a specifically Jewish take on the idea that the home was to be “a way of drawing a line around culture in order to preserve it in the face of a competitive marketplace,” as Nancy Armstrong comments in Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 163.
11.Ascamot, or regulations of the Sephardic synagogue, produced such resistance as the famous rebellion of Isaac D’Israeli. For the nobility myth, see “The Origin and Progress of Literature Amongst the Jews of Spain,” HRR 2 (1835): 158: “we find the Spanish Jews of the middle ages perfectly similar to their brethren in Germany, France, or England of that period, as far as their religious doctrines and observances are concerned: But they are animated by another spirit: Freedom, and the feeling of their own dignity, assign to them a station in the scale of society which their brethren could not attain.” The writer contrasts them with “French usurers torn from their money-bags” (158). Also see Grace Aguilar’s critical assessment of this Sephardic “pride of birth” in the excerpt from her history of the English Jews in “Social Arrangements of the English Jews,” JC, Jan. 2, 1852: Sephardic “pride … not only prevents their advancing themselves, either socially or mentally, but renders powerless every effort made for their improvement. The Germans, more willing to work and push forward their own fortunes, and less scrupulous as to the means they employ, are more successful as citizens, and, as a class, are less difficult to guide. Both parties would be improved by the interchange of qualities.”
12.Critical Inquiry 17, no. 2 (winter 1991): 306–35. Sephardim who had fled the Inquisition had a “unique philosophical stance … which was skeptical and liberal” (321).
13.Caleb Asher. Beyond these few texts, however, the exchange would have been paltry had it not been for Isaac Leeser, the rabbi of Mikve Israel Congregation in Philadelphia and editor of the Occident, which served as a conduit for reciprocal influence throughout the period. It was Leeser who encouraged Rebecca Gratz to found the Jewish Sunday school movement in America in 1838 and published her achievements; Leeser who published many of Grace Aguilar’s and Marion and Celia Moss’s tales in the Occident; Leeser who edited Aguilar’s Spirit of Judaism and distributed it on both sides of the Atlantic; and Leeser who revealed Charlotte Montefiore’s editorship of the Cheap Jewish Library after her death (JC, Sept. 23, 1864). The Occident must be seen as a conduit (male-mediated, to be sure) for Jewish women’s interaction in the absence of their own publications. Until 1855, when Marion Hartog’s periodical Jewish Sabbath Journal briefly appeared, only to be put out of business by the very man who helped promote it, and then until 1895, when Rosa Sonneschein’s American Jewess appeared, there were no Jewish woman’s publications in existence.
An interesting case of the English/American Jewish women’s reciprocal influence is that of Rebbeca Gratz and Grace Aguilar. Rebecca Gratz was the prototype for what Grace Aguilar considered as the most important text about Jews to have come out of the dominant culture in early Victorian England. Since Ivanhoe was the founding text against and through which Aguilar defined the terms of the debate around Anglo-Jewish reform, then indirectly Rebecca Gratz could be said to have been the mother of Aguilar’s writing in England. But the influence went both ways, for Rebecca Gratz later took Grace Aguilar as a role model when she refused to marry in order to pursue a career. See Linda Gordon Kuzmack, Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990), 20.
14.Reminiscences, ed. David Philipson (Cincinnati: Leo Wise and Company, 1901): “Ancestral pride of birth has been beaten out of the German and the Polish Jews with whip and knout; but it has persisted in these American Portuguese.” Wise’s assessment of Ashkenazic Jews does not hold for those Ashkenazim whose ancestors had lived in England for several generations. These tended to display a similar penchant for romance as their Sephardic coreligionists, the prime example being the Mosses, whose family arrived in the middle of the eighteenth century.
15.Reminiscences, argued that Sephardic women were interested both in historical romances and in liberal reform in the Jewish community. In his Reminiscences, Wise records a meeting with a group composed of “Portuguese Jewesses,” among whom were a Mrs. F., who according to Wise had earlier convinced him to edit the Reform journal the Asmonean; and Rebecca Gratz. The women’s purpose—to convince Wise to write a volume of Jewish history: “These ladies, all of whom were Portuguese Jewesses, importuned me to write a history of the Jews instead of a history of the Middle Ages. I had communicated my purpose to Mrs. F. some time before, and she had requested me to devote myself rather to writing Jewish history. Upon my refusal, she sent her well-instructed agents to convince me. When I persisted in the pursuance of my original plan, she came with this bevy of Portuguese Jewesses to persuade me.
“Any one who does not know this peculiar class of American women may consider this proceeding strange. American women exercise great influence in religious matters. This is also the case often with the native-born Jewesses of Portuguese descent. … [They] are very proud of their descent. They lay the greatest stress on the genealogical tree. They are Jews and Jewesses from pride of ancestry. Hence Jewish history is of prime importance in their eyes. Then, as now, there were but few works on Jewish history in the English language, and therefore Mrs. F. desired that I, willy nilly, should undertake this task. I expressed my doubts as to my powers and protested my inability, but all to no avail; I had to submit. … Mrs. F. and her bodyguard would not desist until I promised to begin my studies in Jewish history at once. Therefore I had to begin with B’reshith once again in the winter of 1852. May God forgive this woman all her sins, and also this one! First she made a Jewish editor of me, and then also a Jewish historian” (215–17).
He goes on to say that “They like to hear about the Jewish worthies of aforetime. The princes of Judah and the heroes of the olden days are of great interest to them, because their blood flows through the veins of the present generation of Jews.” The shift from religious affiliation with Judaism to a cultural or ancestral affiliation was one of the most significant transitions brought about by reformers on both sides of the Atlantic. These Portuguese Jewesses are on the forefront of reform—indeed, they are the ones who push Wise to undertake the task of writing Jewish history in the first place. Perhaps it is Portuguese women who ought to be called the founders of Reform Judaism in America.
16.Grace Aguilar, “The Friends, a Domestic Tale,” 1834, Grace Aguilar MSS.
17.JC, Jan. 2, 1852.
18.Aguilar, dedication to “Friends.”
19.Grace Aguilar, “Adah, A Simple Story,” 1838, Grace Aguilar MSS.
20.Aguilar, dedication to “Friends.”
21.The debate over her authenticity has extended to the critics. Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar,” writes: “a great deal of her Jewish knowledge was derived largely from Christian Studies of Jewish learning, rarely from the original sources, and certainly never from a direct study of the Talmud or the Codes. … Her frequent decrying of traditional usages represents a form of Jewish Protestantism” (142). Philip M. Weinberger, “The Social and Religious Thought of Grace Aguilar (1816–1847)” (Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1970), has attempted to counter such an attack on her Jewish authenticity by comparing her work to Maimonides’ thirteen tenets. Because he finds her to agree with almost all of them, he calls her “orthodox.” In fact, she was acutely aware of her lack of traditional Jewish knowledge. This was one of the reasons she called for the translation of the Bible and for Jewish female education. In these calls, she was a reformer, not a traditionalist.
22.Women of Israel, 3 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1884), 2:34. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in text by volume and page number.
23.HRR. In “Spirit of Night,” a homily “founded on a Hebrew Apologue,” published in Home Scenes and Heart Studies (London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1894), Aguilar rewrote the midrash on the “Sun and the Moon,” which first appeared in the HRR. For analysis of the midrash as an allegory of women’s secondary status in creation, see chapter 2. Aguilar revises the gender politics of the tale, so that the argument over status takes place between two male angels, and rather than “the spirit of night” being humiliated, he is cleansed by the angel of Love and restored before God’s eyes. The moon herself remains throughout an orb of “pale but lovely lustre” (373). Aguilar displaces the argument over hierarchy from male sun and female moon to two male angels, removes any humiliation or loss of dignity from the moon, and invokes what must have looked like a Christian solution to the dispute—Love. “The Spirit of Night” is thus a perfect emblem of all that made Aguilar seem important and contradictory to her readers: her willingness to revise tradition on behalf of women, her introduction of heretofore unknown Christian elements, her search for Jewish knowledge in whatever form she could find it.
24.VoJ, Sept. 2, 1842.
25.Women of Israel, 1:143.
26.See Exod. 2:9.
27.Women of Israel of Leah and the Daughters of Zelophehad; Rebekah; Deborah and Huldah; and Miriam, respectively.
28.Domestic Fiction, 201, comments: “The Victorian novel [transforms] household space into an instrument that can be used to classify any social group and keep it under observation. … The prominence of domestic fiction [in the 1840s] suggests the degree to which such power did not in fact rely on overtly juridical or economic means so much as on cultural hegemony, that is, on the notion of the family, norms of sexual behavior, the use of language, the regulation of leisure time, and all those microtechniques that constitute the modern subject.” D. A. Miller discusses the “disciplinary power” and “social surveillance” practiced in the novel in The Novel and the Police (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 17–18. Both critics owe much to Michel Foucault’s discussion of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon in Discipline and Punish (New York: Pantheon, 1977).
29.Tribute, Ladies of the Society for the Religious Instruction of Jewish Youth, Charleston, South Carolina, Nov. 23, 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.
30.La Belle Assemblée, Nov. 1, 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.
31.VoJ, Dec. 3, 1847.
32.sui generis. There have been Jewish women writers in all areas of competence. … But none compares in either scope or character with Grace Aguilar whose major concern was to educate the Jewess and to define and heighten her status and station” (258). Only Zatlin, Anglo-Jewish Novel, eschews this label, placing Aguilar in context with her contemporaries.
33.VoJ, Sept. 2, 1842, she “disclaims any intention either of interfering in the spiritual questions at issue between the different parties of Jews, or of attempting to throw any discredit on rabbinical or traditional law.” Nonetheless, in both Spirit of Judaism and Women of Israel, she strikes explicit positions against the divinity of the rabbis and halacha and for religious reforms.
34.Fiction Without Romance; or, the Locket-Watch, 2 vols. (London, 1830), describes Sabbath and kashrut forms in detail rather than arguing for the “spirit” of the law, and denigrates the romance form as un-Jewish. Judith Montefiore, The Jewish Manual or Practical Information in Jewish and Modern Cookery, intro. Chaim Raphael (New York: NightinGale Books, 1983), takes up issues of kashrut, and argues against female education, except in culinary and domestic arts.
35.Occident, Dec., 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.
36.The Works of Grace Aguilar, New Edition, by Grace Aguilar, JC, Sept. 1, Oct. 27, Nov. 24, 1871.
37.From Vision to Vocation: Lily H. Montagu and the Advancement of Liberal Judaism (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983), 61; and Amy Levy, The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861–1889, ed. Melvyn New (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993). A notable exception to this pattern of tokenizing Aguilar is the recent study of the Anglo-Jewish novel by Linda Gertner Zatlin. In Zatlin’s study, Aguilar receives nearly the same treatment as the Mosses, and they are compared to each other and to other novelists, male as well as female. The problem here is that, although Zatlin recognizes some differences in presentation style, her comparison basically equates all the early novelists as “propaganda” writers who idealize their Jews for a cause, and she does not differentiate their productions by gender. Within an analytic framework that seeks to understand these novels as positioned participants in ongoing exo- and endo-cultural dialogues, the designation “propaganda,” with its negative connotation and lack of differentiation, is not useful.
38.VoJ, Nov., 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.; obituary, Athenaeum, Nov., 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS.
39.Abrahams, “Grace Aguilar.”
40.VoJ, Dec. 3, 1847, front page.
41.Art Union, Nov. 1, 1847, Grace Aguilar MSS, likewise wrote that “she paid the penalty of over-exertion.”
42.Ambitious Heights: Writing, Friendship, Love—The Jewsbury Sisters, Felicia Hemans, and Jane Welsh Carlyle (New York: Routledge, 1990), 37. That she did serve as a role model to some young women is indisputable, as in the case of the most famous early American Jewish “spinster,” Rebecca Gratz, and even Marion Hartog. For her influence on Gratz, see Kuzmack, Woman’s Cause. Her influence on Marion Hartog is evident in Hartog’s addresses to Aguilar in her poems and in the Jewish Sabbath Journal. For biographies of American Jewish “spinsters,” including Rebekah Kohut, Emma Lazarus, Ernestine Rose, and Henrietta Szold, see Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel, The Jewish Woman in America (New York: Dial Press, 1976), 34–46.
43.JC, Jan. 31, 1879.
44.Ambitious Heights, 45. As did Christian writers Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna and Charlotte M. Yonge, for as Dorothy Mermin suggests in Godiva’s Ride: Women of Letters in England, 1830–1880 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 109, “An avowedly religious purpose justified literary self-display” in a woman, especially if allied with social protest. Yet, in Aguilar’s case, the other possibility (that she did not like the company of men) may hold true. Many of Aguilar’s books, especially Woman’s Friendship, focus on the beauties of relationships between women. When, in a curious epilogue to that book that reads as if it were tacked on, Florence does marry, her wedding appears to be quite a disappointment to her rather than the fulfillment of her lifetime dream. Also see Marion A. Kaplan, The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family, and Identity in Imperial Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 126, who speaks of a “female world of sociability” in which Jewish women moved. Such a world was consonant with Victorian Christian women’s experience as well. See Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York: A. A. Knopf, 1985); and Valerie Sanders, The Private Lives of Victorian Women: Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century England (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989).
45.JC, Nov. 5, 1886.
46.Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 127, argues that the figure of the governess is inherently ambivalent, similar to both “the figure who epitomized the domestic ideal, and the figure who threatened to destroy it”—that is, similar to the middle-class mother and the working-class woman who commits the sin of receiving wages for productive, rather than reproductive, labor. In Aguilar’s selfless (yet nevertheless public) caregiving, she also bears resemblance to the figure of Florence Nightingale as constructed by Victorian domestic ideologists. See Poovey, Uneven Developments, chap. 6.
47.Home Scenes, 229. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text by page number.
48.Ambitious Heights, 14; Homans, Bearing the Word, 223; and Deborah Hertz, Jewish High Society in Old Regime Berlin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 171.
49.Godiva’s Ride, 17–20.
50.JC, Sept. 23, 1864.
51.Grace Aguilar, “Notes on Excursion,” Oct. 1843, Grace Aguilar MSS.
52.Jewish High Society, 163–65, describes writers of the 1790s such as Helene Unger and Caroline de la Motte Fouqué who published prolifically while opposing salonières as too public an example for women. German-Jewish women of the same era, such as Dorothea Veit, were so cautious about gaining notoriety that they issued their publications anonymously, as Hertz shows (172).
53.The Rise of the Woman Novelist: From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen (London: Basil Blackwell, 1986), the writer “could express the fears and anger that could not be openly acknowledged; and equally, romance allowed for the expression of women’s hopes and desires. The novelist creating an ideal romantic world might run the risk of escapism but also had the chance to create visions of a better future, and these are an essential part of feminist thought” (210).
55.JC, Jan. 2, 1852), Aguilar writes “The characteristics so often assigned to [Jews] in tales professing to introduce a Jew or a Jewish family, are almost all incorrect, being drawn either from the impressions of the past, or from some special case. … These great errors in delineation arise from the supposition that, because they are Hebrews, they must be different from any other race. They are distinct in feature and religion, but in nothing else.” In each case, she is explicitly concerned with presenting a liberal view of Jews as ethical monotheists. She goes on to describe their good qualities, in accordance with her domestic ideology: “The virtues of the Jews are essentially of a domestic and social kind. … From the highest classes to the most indigent, affection, reverence, and tenderness mark their domestic intercourse.” Taken together, all these prefaces and essays constitute a fairly complete theoretical model with which to read Aguilar’s early works.
56.Spirit of Judaism, 179. This passage comes from chap. 7, “The Spirit and the Forms of Judaism Considered Separately and Together”: “The Bible and reason are the only guides to which the child of Israel can look in security. The laws for which we can find no foundation in the one, and which will not stand the test of the other, need no farther proof; they are not the dictates of the law, they are wanderings from the true and only law, the inventions of man, and not the words of God. The Bible gives us a cause, a reason for every statute it enjoins.” Also see Women of Israel, 1:165: “The law, in form, like the human frame, may die for a time, but the spirit of the ordinances, like the soul of the body, is immortal, and will revive again the shell from which awhile it may have flown.”
57.Critical Inquiry (spring 1994): 477–508. For a theory of the historical romance novel, see Avrom Fleishman, introduction to The English Historical Novel: Walter Scott to Virginia Woolf (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971).
58.The Vale of Cedars and Other Stories (London: J. M. Dent, 1902). Critics have puzzled over Aguilar’s depiction of Isabella, who signed the Expulsion Edict, as a sympathetic mother who is only tricked into expelling the Jews by Torquemada the evil Inquisitor (223). The difficulty is explained by seeing Isabella as a substitute for Victoria. There is evidence that Aguilar idealized Queen Victoria as a great mother. See her “Notes on Excursion,” where she describes two pictures of the queen and concludes “both are sweet touching pictures of our gentle Queen—whom I never felt so much inclined to love as when listening to anecdotes of her happy domestic life from the lips of her own retainors.” (Here she was only replicating the idealization of the queen as mother common in the culture: see Susan Rubinow Gorsky, Femininity to Feminism: Women and Literature in the Nineteenth Century [New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992], 26.) Ragussis, “Birth of a Nation,” 487, points out that Isabella is more philo-Semitic than sympathetic, attempting to use “gentle” means to convert Marie.
59.Ragussis concurs in “Birth of a Nation,” 486.
60.JSJ, Feb. 22, 1855.
61.Spirit of Judaism, 74. Ragussis rightly emphasizes Aguilar’s attention to the “secret race” and to “woman’s heart” in Vale of Cedars, but underemphasizes how much the secrecy of gender and subculture resembled one another structurally.
62.While Aguilar’s belief that Jews and women each ought to hide a piece of themselves seems to suggest that she understands the categories of ethnicity and gender as congruent, in at least one sense she understands these two categories as divergent. For Jews have to hide in order to convince Christians of their essential similarity and therefore of their right to equality; women have to hide in order to convince men of their essential inferiority and therefore of their need for subordination. To pass as members of the dominant group, Jews have to convince Christians of their intelligence as measured by their ability to ape dominant cultural conventions. But intelligent, ambitious women have to “dumb down” to pass as fully feminine members of the “second sex.”
63.Home Scenes. As noted, all references will appear parenthetically in the text.
64.Anglo-Jewish Novel: “To minimize doctrinal differences [between Jews and Christians], the narrator skims over actual practices, while highlighting similarities to Christian customs. … Each description employs adjectives such as ‘peculiar’ and ‘mysterious,’ which distance rather than reveal anything about the spiritual significance of Jewish practices” (36).
65.It would be interesting to speculate on why, when Almah cross-dresses, she dons the garb of another persecuted minority in Spain, a Moor, rather than a Christian. Perhaps Aguilar could not bring her character to sympathize with her persecutors enough to impersonate one of them, while she could allow Almah to sympathize with a member of a persecuted race.
66.Romance of Jewish History 3 vols. (London: A. K. Newman and Co., 1843), 1:55–162, who cross-dresses as a male minstrel in order to deliver a message to King David.
67.Alroy and Coningsby, and Grace Aguilar’s romantical Vale of Cedars, etc., the earliest attempt [of Jews to give a more faithful picture of themselves] was perhaps that of Matthias Levy” (8). Although Roth gives a reason for neglecting Disraeli, he gives none for neglecting Aguilar—as if the adjective “romantical” were reason enough.
68.Records of Israel (London, 1844), Grace Aguilar MSS. Interestingly, this is almost word for word the justification used by the director of the Holy Office, the 1970s Mexican film depicting Jews during the Inquisition, which was shown at the Jewish Film Festival in Berkeley, California, Aug. 2, 1992.
69.Records of Israel, Grace Aguilar MSS.
70.Spirit of Judaism and Women of Israel, her tone is not at all self-deprecating even though she addresses only Jews in those works. But in the first case, she suffered for her boldness by having Leeser administer harsh editorial correctives to the body of her text, which Philip M. Weinberger argues were decisive in the later, milder tone of her work. In the case of Women of Israel, she was directing her text primarily to Jewish women only, and did not have to fear that she was ignorant relative to them.
71.Home Influence: A Tale for Mothers and Daughters (London: James Nisbet, 1855).
72.HJ 1 (May 1, 1847): 251, shows that at least some of her Christian audience agrees. “The works of Grace Aguilar prove of how little vital consequence are the differences of creed, where the heart is influenced by the spirit of true religion. In this spirit, the Jew and the Christian are one.”
73.Christian Work (June 1864); reprinted in JC, July 1, 1864.
74.JC, Sept. 23, 1864.
75.A Few Words to the Jews. By One of Themselves (London: John Chapman, 1855). Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text.
76.Quoted in letter to D. A. de Sola, “The Late Charlotte Montefiore.”
77.JC, Feb. 2, 1855.
78.“The Late Charlotte Montefiore.”
79.JSJ, Apr. 19, 1855: “Mrs. Emanuel was in name, and as far as mere outward observance went, a Jewess; that is to say, she never rode in her carriage on the feast days, never touched fire on the Sabbath, kept the two principal fasts, and had her house cleansed from leaven for the Passover; but beyond this she never thought of religion at all. Her children had been brought up by Christian nurses, educated by a Christian governess; of their own faith they knew nothing. What marvel, then, if their minds were open to any impression which their instructress thought fit to make on them?” (131) This worry over the conversionist tendencies of Christian domestics was quite different than the worry expressed by middle-class German Jews about their domestics: German Jews, who suffered more intense anti-Semitism, worried instead that Christian domestics would refuse to work for them. This is the difference between a philo-Semitic and an anti-Semitic milieu. See Kaplan, Making of the Jewish Middle Class, 38.
81.“The Late Charlotte Montefiore.”
84.JC, Oct. 8, 1847, regrets that the Montefiores, Rothschilds, Goldsmids, Cohens, and Mocattas—all members of the Cousinhood—were not among the ladies who presented the testimonial, because Aguilar “was not rich.”
85.Home Scenes and Heart Studies (London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1894), 11. Subsequent references will be cited parenthetically in the text.
86.Jewish Middle Class, 25, suggests that German-Jewish domestic ideology is by contrast concerned with increasing “permeability”—that is, increasing the Germanness of the Jewish home in the form of paintings and books, artifacts visible to the German eye. Theoretically, high permeability would convince gentile Germans that Jews had achieved Bildung and were worthy of social integration.
87.An example was the Sandy’s Row Synagogue, established as a friendly society for Jewish working men in 1860.
88.Ambitious Heights, 35.
89.Roth, “Anglo-Jewish Literature,” mentions with Aguilar only Emma Lyons and Maria Polack, and neglects the Montefiores, the Mosses, and Goldsmid altogether.
90.Jewish Chronicle used it as an example of the days when “the rights of women were not talked of, and the strong-minded women of our day were unknown. At least,” the reviewer continued, “in that era, a strong-minded woman was one whose mind was strong; and its strength seemed all the brighter for the relief afforded to it by the tender womanly heart and the gentle womanly manner. … Not so, now. Now, the model strong-minded woman tries to do her deeds in a manly way, and the best charm of womanhood is lost in a graceless mimicry of manhood” (JC, Sept. 1, 1871). Simply put, it was Grace’s “grace”—with that word’s feminine and Christian resonance intact—that helped her work survive the partisan debates between feminists and antifeminists, between Jewish men and conversionists. In her capacity to appeal to competing constituencies, she resembles Florence Nightingale again. See Poovey, Uneven Developments, 198: while Nightingale was widely read as a selfless comforter, she could also “be appropriated by feminists who sought proof of women’s capabilities. For Harriet Martineau and others, Florence Nightingale planted a flag upon a new territory, a ‘woman’s battle-field’ that others could now defend. … She … proved beyond a doubt that women could work in the public sphere. Because her image displaced her own antifeminist sentiments, the name of Florence Nightingale could be enlisted in the feminist cause the woman herself refused to support.”
91.JC, Aug. 16, 1872.
1. Along with studies of West Indian, Gypsy, Catholic, and Arab Victorian writing, Anglo-Jewish women’s writing can help to determine what kind of “minority discourse” was developing during the period. Such comparisons would make it possible to work out the relations between gender, ethnicity, religion, and race on a comparative basis. They would also help to determine the attitudes and institutions English Protestants adopted toward minorities living on what the Protestants considered their own shores. These attitudes and institutions toward domestic minorities could in turn be compared with imperial Britain’s “orientalist” strategies toward its dominions abroad. The similarities and disjunctions between its imperialist and domestic strategies for dealing with the Other would no doubt reveal a great deal about the tensions within Victorian liberalism and English national identity.
2. The best sources for late-nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish women writers are Amy Levy, The Complete Novels and Selected Writings of Amy Levy, 1861–1889, ed. Melvyn New (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1993); Ellen M. Umansky, Lily Montagu and the Advancement of Liberal Judaism: From Vision to Vocation (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1983); Ellen M. Umansky, ed., Lily Montagu: Sermons, Addresses, Letters, and Prayers (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1985); and Linda Gertner Zatlin, The Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Jewish Novel (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1981). For the Anglo-American crossover, see Linda Gordon Kuzmack, Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990). For the American women’s writing community, see Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel, The Jewish Woman in America (New York: Dial Press, 1976); and Diane Lichtenstein, Writing Their Nations: The Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Jewish Women Writers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).
3. “Death of Miss Goldsmid,” JC, Feb. 15, 1889.
4. David Woolf Marks and Rev. A. Löwy, Memoir of Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, ed. Louisa Goldsmid, 2d ed. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, 1882). Also see F. H. Goldsmid, The Arguments Advanced against the Enfranchisement of the Jews. Considered in a Series of Letters (London: Colburn and Bentley, 1831), and Reply to the Arguments Advanced against the Removal of the Remaining Disabilities of the Jews (London: John Murray, 1848).
5. “Death of Miss Goldsmid.” Also see Götthold Salomon, Twelve Sermons Delivered in the New Temple of the Israelites, at Hamburgh, trans. Anna Maria Goldsmid (London: John Murray, 1839). Subsequent references will be cited by page number parenthetically in the text.
6. The lack of instructional materials was to continue to be a problem for the next thirty years. In 1860, a major controversy in the community took place when it was discovered that class books at the Jews’ Free School contained a passage that children were supposed to repeat out loud, saying that God “sent Christ to save me.” Neither the Head Master, Moses Angel, nor the educational committee claimed to understand how the passage made it into the class book undiscovered—but because of the dearth of vernacular materials, and because Angel had wanted “to provide a set of books on general subjects,” the class books had actually been taken from Christian classrooms. Attempts were made to paste over the offending passages, but this only led one writer, who wanted Jewish books by Jewish writers, to threaten to “paste my name over in the list of subscribers” to the Free School. The Hebrew Review and Magazine of Jewish Literature held the Chief Rabbi himself responsible, while the Jewish Chronicle tried to smooth things over, until a second offending passage was found. See lead article, “Revision of Our School Books,” HRJ, Apr. 27, 1860; lead article, “The Forthcoming New Class-Book for our Schools,” HRJ, May 4, 1860; and letters, HRJ Apr. 13, 20, 27, and May 4, 1860.
7. Grace Aguilar, Spirit of Judaism, ed. Isaac Leeser, 3d ed. (Philadelphia, 1864), 29.
8. David Woolf Marks, Sermons Preached on Various Occasions at the West London Synagogue of British Jews (London: R. Groombridge and Sons, 1851).
9. “Death of Miss Goldsmid,” review in JC appeared July 19, 1872.
10.Persecution of the Jews of Roumania, trans. Anna Maria Goldsmid, JC, Aug. 23, 1872.
11.“Death of Miss Goldsmid.”
12.VoJ records the founding of the JGLSI Apr. 12, 1844. By Nov. 1845, the institute is studying Mendelssohn, doing philology on Job, discussing whether man is a carnivore, debating the effect of Henry VIII’s destruction of the monastic establishment on the English community at large, opining on the politics of Pitt, etc.
13.JC, Apr. 3, 1874. All subsequent references to the lecture are taken from this article.
14.JC, Sept. 23 1870.
15.JC, Feb. 7, 1879.
16.Critical Inquiry (fall 1989): 113–43; Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of “The Jew” in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); and Michael Galchinsky, “The New Anglo-Jewish Literary Criticism,” Prooftexts 15, no. 13 (1995).