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Anglo-Jewry and The Revolutionary Era, 1789 – 1815

Anglo-Jewry and The Revolutionary Era, 1789 – 1815
Anglo-Jewry and The Revolutionary Era, 1789 – 1815
This thesis examines the impact of the French Revolutionary Era on Anglo-Jewry. Widespread anti-Jewish representations in the theatre, novels, songs and prints are examined and the thesis explains how and why Burke sought to take advantage of the underlying prejudices within them by associating the Revolution with Jews. Detailed archival research, however, underlines the ambiguous position of the Jewish community by demonstrating that the administration of the Alien Act of 1793, Britain’s first immigration legislation, was highly legalistic and was not influenced by the presence of anti-Jewish representations.

The representations, although becoming more empathetic, highlighted the uncertainty of the Jewish community’s position in England. Set against this background, the French Revolution’s embrace of equality before the law and Napoleon’s relationship with Jews in Europe led to doubts over the loyalty of Anglo-Jewry. Drawing on research in the fields of sociology and cultural studies, the thesis examines how the creation of nation states intensified the accusation of dual loyalty, which has subsequently been exploited to create hostility against many different transnational communities. It sets out how the Jewish community in England successfully navigated the accusation in the period by stressing and demonstrating its loyalty.

In contrast to the elite of Anglo-Jewry, which maintained a traditional diasporic fear of verbalizing opinions in public, the thesis examines certain ‘dissident’ Jews. David Levi, the religious defender of Judaism; the radical, John King; and the convert, George Gordon, articulated remarkably outspoken and divergent perspectives. In particular, the thesis focuses on Vaurien, the anti-Revolutionary novel written by Isaac D’Israeli. It examines the attitudes expressed by these ‘dissidents’, explaining the ground-breaking nature of these Jews forthrightly asserting their views.

Overall, it shows the complex nature of Anglo-Jewry and the attitudes towards it in this crucial period of European history.
University of Southampton
Smilg, Jeremy Simon
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Smilg, Jeremy Simon
a1fa105b-d694-40c8-9ec7-6e03bcb95709
Kushner, Antony
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Brown, David
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Smilg, Jeremy Simon (2019) Anglo-Jewry and The Revolutionary Era, 1789 – 1815. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 245pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis examines the impact of the French Revolutionary Era on Anglo-Jewry. Widespread anti-Jewish representations in the theatre, novels, songs and prints are examined and the thesis explains how and why Burke sought to take advantage of the underlying prejudices within them by associating the Revolution with Jews. Detailed archival research, however, underlines the ambiguous position of the Jewish community by demonstrating that the administration of the Alien Act of 1793, Britain’s first immigration legislation, was highly legalistic and was not influenced by the presence of anti-Jewish representations.

The representations, although becoming more empathetic, highlighted the uncertainty of the Jewish community’s position in England. Set against this background, the French Revolution’s embrace of equality before the law and Napoleon’s relationship with Jews in Europe led to doubts over the loyalty of Anglo-Jewry. Drawing on research in the fields of sociology and cultural studies, the thesis examines how the creation of nation states intensified the accusation of dual loyalty, which has subsequently been exploited to create hostility against many different transnational communities. It sets out how the Jewish community in England successfully navigated the accusation in the period by stressing and demonstrating its loyalty.

In contrast to the elite of Anglo-Jewry, which maintained a traditional diasporic fear of verbalizing opinions in public, the thesis examines certain ‘dissident’ Jews. David Levi, the religious defender of Judaism; the radical, John King; and the convert, George Gordon, articulated remarkably outspoken and divergent perspectives. In particular, the thesis focuses on Vaurien, the anti-Revolutionary novel written by Isaac D’Israeli. It examines the attitudes expressed by these ‘dissidents’, explaining the ground-breaking nature of these Jews forthrightly asserting their views.

Overall, it shows the complex nature of Anglo-Jewry and the attitudes towards it in this crucial period of European history.

Text
Smilg Thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435787
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435787
PURE UUID: 35b6d4e2-58b8-481c-ad2e-fff2def4a7ed
ORCID for Jeremy Simon Smilg: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0775-9485

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 12 Oct 2020 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Jeremy Simon Smilg ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Antony Kushner
Thesis advisor: David Brown

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