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Masculinity, Anti-semitism and Early Modern English Literature
Masculinity, Anti-Semitism, and Early Modern English Literature
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Matthew gives an overview of the book:

This study argues that modern anti-Semitism is a by-product of tensions between received Classical conceptions of masculinity and Christianity's strident critique of that ideal. Utilizing works by Shakespeare, Milton, Marlowe and others, Biberman illustrates how anti-Semitism develops as a way to stigmatize hypermasculine behavior, thus facilitating the transformation of the culture's gender ideal from knight to businessman. Subsequently, the function of anti-Semitism changes, becoming instead the mark of effeminate behavior. The central anti-Semitic image changes from Jew-Devil to Jew-Sissy. Biberman traces this shift's repercussions, both in Renaissance culture and what follows it. He also contends that as a result of this linkage between Jewishness and the limits of masculine behavior, the image of the Jewish woman remains especially unstable. In concluding,...
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This study argues that modern anti-Semitism is a by-product of tensions between received Classical conceptions of masculinity and Christianity's strident critique of that ideal. Utilizing works by Shakespeare, Milton, Marlowe and others, Biberman illustrates how anti-Semitism develops as a way to stigmatize hypermasculine behavior, thus facilitating the transformation of the culture's gender ideal from knight to businessman. Subsequently, the function of anti-Semitism changes, becoming instead the mark of effeminate behavior. The central anti-Semitic image changes from Jew-Devil to Jew-Sissy. Biberman traces this shift's repercussions, both in Renaissance culture and what follows it. He also contends that as a result of this linkage between Jewishness and the limits of masculine behavior, the image of the Jewish woman remains especially unstable. In concluding, Biberman argues that the Gothic resurrects the Jew-Devil (bequeathing it to the Nazis), and that the horror genre is often a rewriting of Renaissance discourse about Jews.

matthew-biberman's picture

Although I enjoy my job as a professor of English and plan to continue to write criticism, I want to become a redroom writer in order to enhance my career as a writer of nonfiction aimed at a general audience. My memoir Big Sid's Vincati: A father, a Son and the Bike of a Lifetime will be published by Hudson St. Press (A Penguin imprint) for Father's Day 2009. I hope to promote this book and to develop my relations with readers and writers though redroom.com.

About Matthew

Currently a professor of English at the University of Louisville, I teach and publish on a wide range of literature, most often British Literature from Shakespeare to the Romantics along with contemporary Theory. I also work as a motorcycle mechanic, doing restoration work...

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Author's Publishing Notes

My first academic book, Masculinity, Anti-Semitism and Early Modern English Literature was widely reviewed in scholarly journals in the US and abroad.