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Anti-Semitic Stereotypes

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Anti-Semitic Stereotypes

A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1660-1830

In Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, Felsenstein focuses on English cultural attitudes toward Jews during what is known as the "longer" eighteenth century, from roughly 1660 through 1830. He describes the persistence through the period of certain negative biases that, in many cases, can be traced back at least to the late Middle Ages. Felsenstein finds evidence of these biases in a wide range of primary sources—chapbooks, ephemeral pamphlets, tracts, jest books, prints, folklore, proverbial expressions, and so on, as well as in the products of higher culture. With the advent of the nineteenth century, however, he sees a gradual development of more liberal attitudes in English society, "inchmeal evidence of the loosening hold upon the collective imagination of medieval beliefs concerning the Jews."