By Bryan Cheyette
Literary critics and cultural historians have for too lengthy written the query of race out of mainstream debts of English literature. In structures of "the Jew" in English Literature and Society Bryan Cheyette combines cultural concept, discourse research and new historicism with shut readings of works via Arnold, Trollope and George Eliot, Buchan and Kipling, Shaw and Wells, Belloc and Chesterton, T. S. Eliot and Joyce to argue that the Jew lies on the center of contemporary English literature and society: no longer as a stereotype, yet because the embodiment of bewilderment and indeterminacy.
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Additional info for Constructions of 'the Jew' in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945
Hilaire Belloc also Judaized the 'Arnold Families' in his The Jews (London, 1922), p. 47. These associations were undoubtedly popularized by the portrait of Dr Arnold as an Old Testament patriarch in Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians (London, 1918). Colin Holmes, Anti-Semitism in British Society 1876—1939 (London, 1979), pp. 11-12, cites Goldwin Smith and Disraeli's Eastern policy as the catalyst for the origins of a widespread racial antisemitism in the mid-1870s. The popular second edition of Arnold's Culture and Anarchy was also published at this time.
That the 'key' (in all senses) to Finn's innocence in this novel is to be found in the dark streets of the Jewish 'ghetto' indicates both the unfortunate necessity of accommodating the racial 'other' and the dangers of their unknowable powers of deception. 38 By the time of Phineas Redux, Disraeli had already completed his first ministry of eleven months (from February to December 1868), which provided the political context for this novel, and, during the last decade of Trollope's life, Disraeli was to enter his first full Conservative ministry (1874-80).
The breakdown of a 'realist' narrative in Trollope's fiction, and the fear that his Old England had succumbed to a Hebraic commercialism, will be seen to anticipate George Eliot's post-realist Daniel Deronda (1876). We will examine why her 'experimental' novel situated 'the Jews' in a future spiritual realm that cannot be 'known' and the implications that this has for the 'realist' form of the novel. Eliot explicitly displaces the 'promised land' of a progressive liberalism in this novel onto a Judaized ' promised land' of the future.