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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

ENGL 55.15 The Merchant of Venice: The Jew in the Protestant Imagination

This seminar is an interdisciplinary study of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice that will examine the history of Christianity's attitudes toward Judaism, the fate of Jews within Christian Europe, especially in England prior to the expulsion of the Jews in 1290, and the effect of these histories on the composition of the play, the representations of its main characters, particularly Shylock and Portia, and its reception through the centuries, with attention to its role in modern attitudes toward Jews and toward anti-Semitism. We will approach the material as scholars of history, literature, and religion. We expect to attend closely to the gendered and racialized representations of Jewishness and Christianness in the play and in English culture more generally. The impact of the play will be examined with particular reference to modern German and English literary traditions. We will also examine some major developments in the staging of the play, with particular attention to Yiddish versions, Israeli productions, and Nazi-era German stagings, as well as several film versions. A selection from the major critical literature on the play will be studied.

Cross Listed Courses

JWST 070 REL 74.12

Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:LIT; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

No course group assignment.