Lisa Lampert examines the linkages of gender and Jewish difference in late medieval and early modern English literature. In this interesting albeit complex monograph, the author explores how authors of that time employed oppositional categories to construct the ideal individual and collective identity of “Christian” in contrast to the figures signified by the constructions “Jew” and “woman.” The bifurcated representations of Jew and Woman that she traces reflect an uneasy figuration of Jews and women as both insiders and outsiders to the Christian society these authors’ worldviews represent. She attends especially to the representations at work in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, among other examples. In addition to exploring the works of these periods, Lampert discusses how these developments build on earlier constructions and extend their influence to the present day. Bibliography and index.
Mark D. Nanos, Ph.D., University of Kansas, is the author of Mysteryof Romans, winner of the 1996 National Jewish Book Award, Charles H. RevsonAward in Jewish-Christian Relations.