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Shylock's Children

Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe

Derek Penslar (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 385 pages
ISBN: 9780520225909
July 2001
$68.95, £51.95
Throughout much of European history, Jews have been strongly associated with commerce and the money trade, rendered both visible and vulnerable, like Shakespeare's Shylock, by their economic distinctiveness. Shylock's Children tells the story of Jewish perceptions of this economic difference and its effects on modern Jewish identity. Derek Penslar explains how Jews in modern Europe developed the notion of a distinct "Jewish economic man," an image that grew ever more complex and nuanced between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.
Derek J. Penslar is Samuel Zacks Associate Professor of Jewish History at the University of Toronto and author of Zionism and Technocracy: The Engineering of Jewish Settlement in Palestine 1870-1918 (1991). He coedited In Search of Jewish Community: Jewish Identities in Germany and Austria, 1918-1933 (1998).
"Shylock's Children does a commendable job of rooting nineteenth-century Jewish social policy. . ."—Lisa Moses Leff Journal Of Modern History
"A groundbreaking work. . . . Penslar persuasively demonstrates that economic issues, or 'political economy,' had a profound impact on the shape and character of Jewish self-understanding. . . . It will be required reading for all scholars . . . . [and] will also capture the attention of a general audience."—David Sorkin, author of Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment

"A major contribution. . . . Placing economics at the center of modern European Jewish history, Penslar presents an original interpretation of the critical issues of modern Jewish history: emancipation, social mobility, anti-Semitism, and the construction of new identities."—Paula E. Hyman, author of The Jews of Modern France

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