Tower

2014

"Child-like Humility to Spiritual Crisis" a talk by Dr. Nadia Valman. Monday, November 17 at 5:30pm, The Judaica Suite, Grand Reading Room, Smathers Library, 2nd Floor.
Women were central to the emergence and development of the Jewish novel in nineteenth-century England. Anglo-Jewish literature came into being in the early Victorian period in the form of popular didactic fiction, a form to which women writers had greater access. Their novels were conceived to help press the Jewish claim for equal citizenship and to counter the pressure from Protestant missionaries to convert to Christianity. The Jewish woman, moreover, was repeatedly the subject of their writing. Aimed at both Jewish and non-Jewish readers, early Victorian Anglo-Jewish fiction sought to position the Jewess as an ideal type of steadfast piety, a paragon of bourgeois values, steering the Jewish family through adversity towards moral uprightness and national loyalty. Jewish women writers in Victorian England continued to write popular fiction, and their novels were produced against a background of increasing political and social integration and dramatic demographic changes. Again and again they returned to the figure of the Jewess as the conduit of religious or ethical principles even as these principles were challenged and reconfigured. In this lecture, I will trace this thread through the work of three writers whose fiction exemplifies Anglo-Jewry’s shifting concerns, from the domestic writing of Grace Aguilar, who, in responding to the political and religious demands of midnineteenth century England established the model of the idealized Jewess, through to the fin-de-siècle writers Emily Marion Harris and Lily Montagu, whose novels are shaped by class conflict, religious scepticism and feminism.

All events are Free and open to the public.

With appreciation...These programs are made possible by our sponsors, Schram Memorial Endowment, Melton Jewish Studies Endowment, Gerson Lecture Series, Breier Visiting Fellowship, Kahn Visiting Scholar Fund, Gerson Visiting Professor Fund, Futernick Professorship Fund, and Jewish Council of North Central Florida.

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