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Jews and Jewishness in British ChildrenĘs Literature

ISBN: 9780415630863 | 041563086X
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Routledge
Pub. Date: 3/20/2013

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This book examines the ways in which questions of identity, belonging, and exclusion have been explored in British children's literature in relation to Jews, demonstrating that literature for young people has engaged actively in a discourse that seeks to establish the place of Jews in Britain. At a time of ongoing debate about faith, identity, migration, and culture, it explores the often politicized nature of constructions of Jews and Jewishness that have been influenced by the impact of the Enlightenment, the Empire, the Holocaust, and 9/11. The representations in a substantial body of texts across age-ranges, genres, and time periods reveal an ongoing concern with establishing, maintaining, or problematizing the boundaries between Jews and Gentiles. Chapters on gender, refugees, multiculturalism, and historical fiction demonstrate that the position of Jews in Britain has been ambivalent, and that this ambivalence has persisted to a surprising degree in view of the dramatic socio-cultural changes that have taken place over two centuries. Travis examines works by authors including Maria Edgeworth, E. Nesbit, Rudyard Kipling, Richmal Crompton, Lynne Reid Banks, Michael Rosen, Aidan Chambers, and others, also visiting rare eighteenth- and nineteenth-century material and drawing on unpublished interviews with authors including Adele Geras, Eva Ibbotson, and Ann Jungman. This study illuminates the messages about Jewish cultural and religious diversity that have been communicated to successive generations of young readers in Britain.

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