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The Accommodated JewEnglish Antisemitism from Bede to Milton$
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Kathy Lavezzo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703157

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703157.001.0001

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(p.248) Coda
The Accommodated Jew

Kathy Lavezzo

Cornell University Press

This book has investigated the antisemitism at work in English texts, showing that such texts contain offensive fantasies about a supposed “Jewish” menace that stand in tension with counternarratives about an English Christian reliance on, desire for, and similitude to the “Jewish” materialisms Christianity claims to reject. Representations of the accommodated Jew thus reveal both an offensive politics of rejection and an ideological embrace of the Jew as a tool for accommodating the English to their messy urban materialisms. This coda discusses the implications of the book's findings for later English images of the Jew as they appear in Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. It argues that Oliver Twist complicates received notions of the Jewish house through the juxtaposition of scenes of locking, containment, and enclosure with the portrayal of unwieldy and transgressive flows, circulations, and currents. It also considers how interaction with Jews prompts a reform in Dickens, leading him to offer an account that radically departs from the antisemitic images of Oliver Twist.

Keywords:   antisemitism, Jewish materialism, Christianity, accommodated Jew, politics of rejection, urban materialism, Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Jewish house, enclosure

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