George Eliot's Daniel Deronda is looming on the relatively immediate horizon in the graduate seminar. But this Metafilter post on Paolo Bacigalupi and its links to some harshcritiques of The Wind-Up Girl put me in mind of something that, in retrospect, is perhaps rather odd about Eliot's novel: it is arguably more central to Victorian Jewish self-consciousness than most novels by Jews--certainly far more than is, say, Amy Levy's rejoinder to it, Reuben Sachs. Jewish readers of the time weregenerallyexcitedbyDaniel Deronda, some of them because of its political implications. (Excerpts from the novel were published in 1899 as George Eliot as a Zionist, and you can find "George Eliot Street" in cities like Tel Aviv.) It strikes me that there aren't that many parallels to this success, and especially not at this level of enthusiasm.
Many years ago, I was teaching The Tempest to some freshmen. A few of them complained that they couldn't "relate" to the play. At which point, I wanted to jump on the nearest desk and yell that THERE WAS NO POSSIBLE REASON ON THIS GREEN EARTH THAT THEY SHOULD "RELATE" TO THE TEMPEST. It's The Tempest, for crying out loud, not a docudrama about being a college student in upstate NY. Which brings me around to the novelist DavidGilmour, who doesn't teach women writers because "I’m very keen on people’s lives who resemble mine because I understand those lives and I can feel passionately about them – and I teach best when I teach subjects that I’m passionate about." Indeed, when asked if he needs to "relate" to the works on his syllabus, he explains that "I believe that if you want to teach the way I want to teach, you have to be able to feel this stuff in your bones. Other teachers don’t, but I don’t think other teachers necessarily teach with the same degree of commitment and passion that I do – I don’t know." Putting aside the not so passive-aggressive critique of those "other teachers" out there, the ones who don't "feel this stuff," this account of what it means to invest in "people's lives who resemble mine" seems to skip a few steps.
So, as those of you who have been putting up with this here blog for nearly a decade know well, I write about Christians. Thanks to demographics, I also teach Christians. (Because it's pretty hard to be a Victorianist and get away from Christians. Even the agnostics and atheists are still thinking in Christian terms.) Even this semester, when I'm teaching a course about Judaism in the 19th-c. novel, I've still got a whole lot of Christians going on. Now, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm Jewish (the name does tend to be a giveaway, I find). And yet, I get all excited and intense about "my" Christian novelists (despite their frequent lack of, er, aesthetic flair), and I suspect that one of my colleagues may have regretted asking why I thought Bleak House was one of the great English novels of the nineteenth century (let's just say "expounded at some length and with much gesticulation"). But my life most emphatically does not "resemble" that of any Victorian novelist I can think of--in fact, my life doesn't resemble that of any nineteenth-century Jews, male or female.
"Relate" and "resemble" posit that the objects of relation or resemblance are static, objective categories. Take, for example, "I relate to George Eliot," or "my life resembles George Eliot's." What does that mean? That you have a longterm liaison with a man who cannot divorce his wife? That you are a successful intellectual with no "respectable" female friends, a moral arbiter considered immoral by much of the genteel world at large? That you write great novels? That you're actually kind of conservative? That you read everything in sight? All of the above? What? Or have you imagined a relation or resemblance into being, a spark of connection that has something, perhaps, to do with Eliot, but just as much with what you needed to find in Eliot? And if you grant that, then perhaps you can grant that there are other ways of thinking about one's "relation" to a work or author that do not rely on mental mirrors in order to work?
For many academics,much of the "passion" is about the non-resemblance, the non-relation. Even those who may be like me are not, necessarily, like me. (I don't think I have much in common with Amy Levy, let alone Grace Aguilar.) Even recovery work still derives from an awareness of the strange: I can enter into figurative dialogue with that "lost" Jewish woman novelist, now found again, but I cannot flatten her circumstances and mine together into an indistinguishable pulp. Historical continuity does not necessarily encompass identity or more than token resemblance. I have nothing in common with Charles Dickens, and could really do without his antisemitism. But I could go on all day about Bleak House...and teach it all day, too. The space between myself and a work has just as much passion and promise, it seems to me, as does any comforting relation.
I had faint hopes that this was satire--because, really, who actually burdens his colleagues with an eighteen-page email , or submits for publication an essay in which the sum total of the complaint is that two people dared to say that they were offended  (not that they reported him to HR, or anything like that--they just emailed the listserv) by a boring sexual cliche--but, after reading some of his scholarly work, I'd say not. In the interests of conciseness, I'll just leave this useful advice here, which in its original context is part of a critique of NCTE's "Students' Right to Their Own Language":
"Anyone can claim the 'right' to speak or write any way he pleases, but nothing in that assertion inhibits anyone else from judging the language unfit for the occasion."
--Jeffrey Zorn, "Students' Right to Their Own Language: A Counter-Argument," Academic Questions 23 (2010): 315.
 Let's hope that's hyperbole. Otherwise, IT will probably remove all the keys from his keyboard.
 I mean, really, I'd take that as a compliment: those two people actually read the email.
I grew up observing Dad the Emeritus Historian of Graeco-Roman Egypt, who published at R1 rates while working at CSU Los Angeles, a campus where faculty carry a twelve-hour teaching load. As a result, I always assumed that the answer to that question was, well, why not? (At the very least, I learned to look askance at assumptions that such things were impossible.) Since then, I've spent 99% of my career at a comprehensive, where I have a nine-hour load. And, as my CV suggests, I've not had much difficulty when it comes to publishing, either. Still, some faculty at R1s have expressed shock/disbelief/bemusement that I seem to be writing quite so much.
The question, then, is: under what conditions does a tenure-track academic at a teaching institution also have an active research program?
As Hollis Phelps points out in the linked article, a teaching institution potentially offers one undeniable benefit: "a great deal of flexibility and self-determination regarding where and what I publish." Publish something, and everyone says, "yay!" Nobody scrutinizes your work to see that you have cited the Approved Sources; nobody cares if you decide, like one of my former colleagues, to change your research specialization from Renaissance literature to the Ancient Near East. (Granted, that's a bit drastic.) If, like yours truly, you found yourself attracted to a subject whose attractions are, I have been given to understand, not always immediately understandable, then you're still fine. (On the one hand, people are reading and citing my work; on the other, I have not yet detected a critical mass of scholars who yearn to specialize in not-always-aesthetically-pleasing Victorian religious fiction, although there are certainly more of us than before.)
That being said, most faculty who maintain active research profiles at teaching institutions also enjoy certain conditions:
There are books nearby. DtEHoGRE's home institution and actual home are within easy reach (OK, barring Southern CA traffic jams) of UCLA, UC Irvine, USC, and the Huntington Library. This is a dicier proposition for yours truly--the closest research library is the U of Rochester, which is not that big, and it's approximately 100 miles to Cornell--which means that I have a habit of scheduling vacations in the immediate vicinity of places with books in them, buying the books myself, or pestering ILL. However, lots of my research involves books accessible via the Holy Trinity of GoogleBooks, Archive.org, and HathiTrust, which helps immensely, and our library has also stepped up its eBook access.
There is at least some institutional support. We do have small travel grants, which at least cover airfare, and the campus rewards research with merit bonuses; there are also some bigger grants available on the basis of where you are in your career. Moreover, everyone supports faculty who have a research agenda. By contrast, I have met faculty who teach at places where research receives no acknowledgment whatsoever, or is even positively discouraged. (Many years ago, someone who teaches at a well-known SLAC told me a story about being attacked at his tenure review because he published actively.)
Committee work is not a graveyard. That should be self-explanatory.
Faculty-student ratio. During the semester/quarter, a nine- or twelve-hour load will occupy most of your time: there are lectures to prep, papers to grade, works to reread, students to meet. (Oh, and there are also endless committees to sit on.) Some of this can be ameliorated by relatively small class sizes, however.
Ability to carve out time. Phelps identifies "time management" as key, and there's absolutely no way around this: at a certain point, you have to decide to prioritize some things and not others. This may mean that there's no television in your life (hi), or that you take vacations near libraries (see above), or that you get up early in the morning/stay up late at night, every morning/every night. (The flip side of this is, again, that there's much less pressure to perform, and different standards for what constitutes a research program.) However...
...Cooperative family/spouse/SO. For this to work, everyone has to be on board, and many faculty will have necessary personal obligations on top of teaching that rightly override pursuing research. Babies, household maintenance, frail parents... (I'll add that being a singleton has its own set of problems in this situation, as I can't divide up the cooking, housework, maintenance, and geriatric cat care. This means that things just don't get done sometimes--well, aside from the geriatric cat care, as I'd be meowed at pretty harshly if I didn't keep the cats fed.) The cliche about "only so many hours" applies.
Choice of topic. Early on, my father advised me that at this type of institution, it was essential to find research topics that were actually doable under a lot of time constraints. Scholars who successfully meld working at a teaching institution with active publishing are frequently one-author specialists (e.g., a former colleague who wrote about William Beckford) or specialists in areas not occupied by a lot of other academics (hey there!); alternately, they become generalists or popularizers (e.g., the late Paul Zall). Moreover, there's much more room for textbook writing, as one of the commenters on Phelps' article points out, a field that has the distinction of, you know, occasionally turning a profit.
I've occasionally been asked if being at a non-R1 is professionally disadvantageous when it comes to scholarship. For the purposes of publishing, the answer seems to be "no" (just look at the affiliations listed in many book catalogs, even from prestigious publishers); for the purposes of grant acquisition, the anecdotal answer appears to be "sometimes"; for the purposes of networking, also "sometimes" (although I've only been snubbed to my face once on account of where I teach, thank goodness).
Between classes, I shelled out $5 to read the whole thing (abstract here), as they say.
The primary difficulty with this study is that it's not possible to extrapolate anything useful from it. To begin with, the title is "Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?"; the study actually asks "Are Tenure Track Professors at Northwestern University Better Teachers at the Lower-Division Level?" (Answer: No.) I'm reminded of the joke about the book that starts out big in the main title, then turns into a hyper-specialized monograph after the colon--only here, there's no colon. As even the authors admit, "Northwestern University is one of the most selective and highly-ranked research universities in the world" (16), with predictable results both for the kind of students it serves (a mediocre student at NW may not be a mediocre student elsewhere) and the kind of non-TT faculty it hires. Northwestern is...Northwestern. One might expect similar outcomes from a study done at Harvard or Yale. Moreover, Northwestern's location not only makes it easy for the university to take its pick of Ph.D.s, ABDs, and MAs from other high-ranking research universities, like the University of Chicago, but also gives it access to a wide range of active professionals in other fields (business, the arts) who may adjunct as a sideline. It's not immediately clear to me that Rural Minor Branch Campus, lacking these amenities and with a very limited non-TT pool, will experience quite the same effects.
Of course, that being said, in one respect the results aren't surprising at all, for reasons that have nothing to do with the Platonic qualities of TT faculty as teachers. Teaching lower-division courses, especially large-scale lectures, is its own unique skill set. Pitching the subject properly (and making it attractive), organizing lectures for clarity, knowing what can't be included, speaking effectively to a more impersonal (because larger) audience, even changing how one uses gestures and body language...all of these things require practice. And if non-TT faculty are doing most of the lower-division teaching--and, at Northwestern, apparently often doing so for years--then it should shock no-one that they also wind up doing better at it than Professor X, who rotates into the lecture once every three or four semesters and otherwise hangs out with upper-division/graduate students. (Historical example: one of UCLA's acknowledged all-time great teachers was Albert Hoxie, a lecturer with an MA who specialized in the gigantic Western Civ survey. You can hear some of Hoxie's lectures here.) Cinderella's Fairy Godmother does not show up, chant "Bibbity-Bobbity-Boo," and magically equip either TT or non-TT faculty with lower-division instructional skills. At the same time, non-TT faculty at Northwestern are also not performing under the same conditions as non-TT faculty at, say, Underpaying Community College or Budget-Crunched Comprehensive, given far better pay and greater continuity of employment.
1. What to do about the ritual of recommendation letters? The USA has a very particular (or peculiar, take your pick) letter-writing culture: it is unacceptable to say anything negative about the candidate or the candidate's project, unless there is something so sublimely awful that even the least delicate of souls would quail at the prospect of sharing a department with said individual. Even then, the negative observations are likely to be couched in dainty euphemisms, lest the candidate be sneaky and do an end-run around the confidentiality waiver. By contrast, letters from across the pond tend to be, shall we say, bracing in their judgments. ("Fascinating project! Utterly without merit from start to finish, but still, nice try.") Even helpful letters have to be carefully parsed: is this the standard-issue canonization letter, or genuine praise? In my experience of reading these things, I can think of very few instances in which a candidate's viability was materially affected by his/her letters of rec in either direction.
There's something to be said for the committee phoning instead of the recommender writing, despite the obvious logistical problems--you need to get two (or, depending on your HR rules, three) people in the same place for about thirty minutes in order to run through a thorough script. However, the advantages are all on the side of the committee & the recommender, not the candidate: there's no way for graduate directors to vet the recs beforehand, no way to do the aforementioned sneaky end-run around the confidentiality waiver (which you shouldn't do! but people do it anyway!), and no way to recover if the professor waxes nostalgic about that time you led a discussion section while spinning a hula hoop and wearing purple-and-orange striped socks.
I think one can overstate the extent to which "famous name" recommendations are helpful--some famous names write consistently terrible/superficial recs. That being said, a candidate further along in his/her career should start acquiring letters from people not on their doctoral committee. (And update the letters: it does raise red flags if the letters are from, say, five or even ten years ago.)
I'm all in favor, however, of capping the number of rec letters at three.
2. Strange as it may seem, you should, in fact, come to class during the first week. Odd, I know. I have missed the first day of class twice in my career, both times because the relevant airport was under several feet of snow and I was trapped somewhere else (moral of the story: I return from winter break much earlier). But I'm reminded of the professor from my undergraduate days who had this unfortunate reputation for coming to class and announcing, "You know, I just don't feel like teaching today." Students: THANKS FOR BEING SO "PROFESSIONAL," AND WE'LL BE TAKING A VACATION NOW.
3. No, no, not the sex thing again. The LP has by now earned a reputation for being a cranky young fogey when it comes to the "why can't we have fun sexy-times with people half our ages" crew. Intellectual excitement does not necessarily equate to the excitement of other regions of the body, despite all the poetic sighs about academic "erotics." In any event, I'm baffled by the persistent belief that saying "no, no sexy-times with the students" means "you believe that all students are LITTLE INNOCENT BABIES, and must be protected from MEAN EVIL PROFESSORS, and isn't that infantilizing?!" Indicating the existence of a power imbalance does not mean that the person with the shorter stick is a child, let alone that the indicator is a rampaging Podsnapper. It means that the person with a shorter stick is likely to bear an unequal burden when the end is nigh and sexy-times have turned into recrimination-times. Some people have more institutional oomph than others, and that matters. Yes, this does mean that there are times when even those in the grips of Pure Twoo Luv may have to restrain themselves temporarily, because rules necessary to protect the general may conflict with the desires of the particular. But, as Louise Antony bluntly reminds us, most serial-student-sexers will never be officially reprimanded. Moreover, fun sexy-times do not occur in a vacuum; other students notice and wonder, sometimes correctly, about the concrete effects on their own prospects. If there's truly a grand passion, it can wait until the student has actually graduated, changed majors, or otherwise passed out from under the relevant faculty member's purview. It's called maturity and delayed gratification, both of which, I have been given to understand, are old-fashioned conservative values.
As Maria Edgeworth's Harrington (1817) reaches its comic resolution, the Sephardic Jew Mr. Montenero and our protagonist, thinking through a long run of misunderstandings, finally find themselves "understanding each other perfectly" (289). In a novel which famously rejects interfaith marriage as a symbolic means of uniting disparate peoples--Harrington's beloved, Berenice Montenero, had a Protestant mother and was raised as a Christian--this moment of man-to-man understanding suggests how Jew and Christian might be reconciled. The last-minute revelation that Berenice is not, after all, Jewish, despite her Jewishness being a major romantic stumbling-block throughout, has come in for considerable (and understandable) asperity from most readers, beginning with Edgeworth's American correspondent Rachel Mordecai Lazarus. Instead of relying on the marriage plot as a sign of religious incorporation, then, the novel turns to capitalism: indeed, Rachel Schulkins, who insists that the novel is a "failure," argues that "[t]oleration in Harrington is conditioned upon the other's social assimilation and social contribution,"1 while Neville Hoad similarly claims that "[i]n Harrington, as in the pamphlets of the proponents of the Naturalization Bill, tolerance is justified in terms of commerce."2 In other words, the novel can imagine integrating Jews into the larger polity as long as Jews effectively secularize themselves and demonstrate their instrumentality. As a return, society at large then owes Jews the same respect they would pay to any other citizen. Schulkins and Hoad are, I think, correct in their interpretation of how toleration functions in Harrington, but I'd like to look at two points in a little more detail: Edgeworth's decision to use a first-person narrator, and the politics of the interfaith marriage plot.
Michael Ragussis and Judith Page in particular have discussed in great detail how Harrington dramatizes, in Ragussis' turn of phrase, how "one community textually deauthorizes another."3 After all, Harrington calls our attention to how antisemitic narratives circulate through English culture, whether in the demonized form of a nursemaid's folkloristic horror stories or the exalted one of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Strictly speaking, though, the novel is never "about" its Jewish characters; part of the point, in fact, is that our Christian male narrator has no access to the minds of his imagined Jewish enemies and, later, his friends, any more than he does to his parents or to that of his nemesis, Lord Mowbray. Edgeworth does not shy away from pointing out the danger of assuming that the impenetrability of others is created equal: when Harrington takes Mowbray seriously while downgrading the Jewish Jacob's testimony to Mowbray's antisemitism--despite being supposedly philosemitic himself--he explicitly ranks English (and implicitly Christian) self-representation above the Jewish challenge to it. (In modern social justice terminology, Harrington is a lousy ally.) Catherine Gallagher's argument that the novel follows not "Jews" but "their representations" thus needs to be extended to all social interaction, thanks to Harrington's obsessive retrospective analysis of his own perceptions.4 Thus, while we see Harrington's prejudices challenged by Israel Lyons, whose appearance does not match Harrington's "preconceived notions" (105), we also have his comical encounters with Mowbray's sister Anne, which reveal not only his lack of acquaintance with fashionable lingo, but also his anxious readings of the signs that "danger was imminent" (127). Lady Anne's fundamental transparency is in stark contrast to Berenice Montenero's frequent unreadibility, despite the famous set piece in which Harrington, watching Charles Macklin perform Shylock, "form[s] such a strong conception of the pain the Jewess was feeling" (137) that he feels himself driven to reinterpret the dialogue and plot. (To Harrington's dismay, his own mother's prejudices are equally transparent to Montenero.) Nor are these problems with interpretation and evaluation confined to the Gentiles. It turns out that Mowbray and Harrington's old nurse, Fowler, deliberately prey on Berenice's and Montenero's own fears by casting Harrington's flights of "enthusiasm" as a sign of full-blown insanity--the "obstacle" that needs removing before the two can marry. By making the Jews themselves subject to deception by Mowbray and Fowler, Edgeworth departicularizes antisemitism and turns it into an extreme example of a universal human limitation. All of humanity is awash in a sea of isolated selves; under the circumstances, how can we best learn to engage with others? Still, the novel does not generalize the consequences of this limitation: those who project their "preconceived notions" onto Jews tend to cause their targets massive physical and psychological trauma (including physical assault and property destruction), whereas the Monteneros' preconceptions would hurt a single Christian, without any greater social ramifications.
The difficulty, then, is that Edgeworth rewards Harrington for learning how to correctly read Jews and Christians alike by promising him marriage to a woman who turns out to be Protestant. Berenice's Christianity, which enables Harrington to marry her without losing all his property and without alienating his parents, is certainly a last minute bait-and-switch (although, by the same token, it is also supposed to model how childhood education might lead a Christian to identify with a Jewish subject position, in a way that Harrington never fully masters). But what is at stake in calling for a fullblown interfaith marriage plot? Berenice herself is the product of an interfaith marriage, so the novel does not rule out the possibility entirely. Yet the demand for interfaith marriage as a sign of "toleration" usually emanates from the nineteenth-century Protestant majority. Jewish novelists from Grace Aguilar to Benjamin Farjeon all resist interfaith marriage in the starkest of terms; so too do Catholic novelists. From the minority POV, interfaith marriage results in silencing at best, madness and persecution at worst (a Gothic rendering of the real judicial disadvantages faced by the non-Protestant partner if the marriage went haywire). At stake here are wildly different readings of how to symbolically resolve religious pluralism in an officially Protestant state, complicated in the Jewish case by the absence of proselytism. Or, to put it differently, liberal Protestant novelists (e.g., Dickens) imagine the domestic space absorbing other religious faiths without a ripple, whereas Catholic and Jewish novelists are far more likely to read interfaith domesticity as aggressively flattening the minority faith, thanks to the social mechanisms upholding Protestant superiority. Once Edgeworth started down the road of the marriage plot, that is, there was no way to make it end happily ever after without problematic results, even if she had made Berenice Jewish. We'll be seeing novelists struggle with the interfaith marriage plot for the remainder of the semester.
1 Rachel Schulkins, "Imagining the Other: The Jew in Maria Edgeworth's Harrington," European Romantic Review 22.4 (2011): DOI:10.1080/10509585.2011.583039.
2 Neville Hoad, "Maria Edgeworth's Harrington: The Price of Sympathetic Representation," in British Romanticism and the Jews: History, Culture, Literature, ed. Sheila A. Spector (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 128.
3 Michael Ragussis, Figures of Conversion: "The Jewish Question" & English National Identity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995), 85; cf. Judith Page, Imperfect Sympathies: Jews and Judaism in British Romantic Literature and Culture (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), esp. 142-50. For a slightly different take, see Peter Logan, Nerves & Narratives: A Cultural History of Hysteria in 19th-Century British Prose (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 109-39, which reads the novel's antisemitism as a form of communicable nervous disease, characterized by groupthink and mob violence, that must be overcome by reason.
4 Catherine Gallagher, Nobody's Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670-1820 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 315.
For the past several days, my life has been occupied by an index. (And teaching. And writing. And trying not to think about the book review that's about to be overdue. And planning to attend meetings next week. And...) Behold some bizarre index trivia:
Letters with no entries: Q, X, and Z. (There's a Z in the bibliography, but it doesn't qualify for the index under Notre Dame's rubric.)
Most frequent letter: The "M"s have it.
Relative names: The three Maurices (Frederic Denison, sister Mary, son Charles Edmund).
Name's the same: the two John Milners, one of whom is really F. W. Blagdon.
Number of names in the index: c. 330.
Author with the longest entry: Walter Scott.
Author with the most works indexed: Emma Leslie.
Historical figure with the longest entry: Mary Tudor.
Historical characters appearing in more than one literary work: Rose Allin/Allen (Rose Allen, The King's Daughter's, The Protestant), Elizabeth I (The Statue Room, The Recess, The Spaewife, Tyborne), Julian Hernandez (The Spanish Brothers, The Last Look), Martin Luther (Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family, The Adventures of Hans Müller), Mary I (Lady Jane Grey, The Secret Room, The Statue Room, Mary Tudor, Queen Mary, Cecily), Mary, Queen of Scots (The Recess, The Abbot), Sir John Oldcastle (Mark's Wedding, The Story of John Heywood), Girolamo Savonarola (Agnes of Sorrento, Romola, The Martyr of Florence), Johann von Staupitz (Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family, The Adventures of Hans Müller), John de Wycliffe ("A Story of the Lollards," Hubert Ellerdale, The Lord Mayor).
Historical figures mentioned in more than one literary work: Elizabeth I (The Abbot, The Protestant, Barnaby Rudge), Henry VIII (Cecily, Alice Sherwin, The Forest of Arden, The Last Abbot of Glastonbury), Martin Luther (Alice Sherwin, Geraldine, Agnes of Sorrento), Mary I (From Prison to Paradise, The Heir of Treherne, The Protestant, Barnaby Rudge, "The Youthful Martyr"), Philip I (The Secret Room, Cecily).
and John Milner, MA, who did a potted edition of the Book of Martyrs, called An Universal History of Christian Martyrdom.
I was cheerfully indexing along, working my way through Milner, when I was brought up short by the appearance of Thomas Hughes on the page. Because Thomas would have been a little too green behind the ears to be publishing anything in the 1830s. Some double-checking revealed that I really meant Joseph Milner. I scolded myself sternly and continued on.
Next: the case of two Johns. I had a reference to an "evangelical John Milner," but then again, there was the Catholic John. Were there really two John Milners, or had I completely screwed up mistyped once again? After all, John #1 was doing a good imitation of being an evangelical. Still, I checked my source, and found that John Milner (the evangelical) was not John Milner, but actually the very short-lived Francis William Blagdon. This, however, was interesting for another reason: why choose "John Milner, MA" as the pseudonym under which to publish the aforementioned potted Book of Martyrs? Was it possibly a snark aimed in the direction of the real John Milner, who became a Bishop in 1803? Further noodling about reveals that, in fact, it very likely was.
This is the reading list for the graduate seminar I'm teaching this seminar on "Judaism & 19th-C. British Fiction." The course is intended to give a cross-section of nineteenth-century writings about and by Jews, covering a range of attitudes from philosemitic to antisemitic (and Jews' responses to these positions), and addressing how Jews figure in a range of intersecting stories about identity (secular and religious), conversion, assimilation, and nationhood. Students were asked to come into class having read The Merchant of Venice, as the Shylock/Jessica relationship often lurks behind nineteenth-century representations of Jewish domesticity (and conversion). The course does not otherwise presuppose that students will know anything about Judaism (guess what the first session will be about?), although I don't think there's anything on the syllabus likely to provoke as many "huh? what?" responses as Jacob Gordin's The Jewish King Lear, which I taught last year. It will be interesting to see how the more didactic novels go over with the graduate students.
Harrington unit (1 session):
Maria Edgeworth, Harrington (and correspondence with Rachel Mordecai Lazarus)
Excerpt from Todd M. Endelman, The Jews of Britain: 1656-2000
Excerpt from Michael Ragussis, Figures of Conversion: The "Jewish Question" and English National Identity
Neville Hoad, “Maria
Edgeworth’s Harrington: The Price of
Ivanhoe unit (2 sessions):
Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
Excerpt from Frank Felsenstein, Anti-Semitic Stereotypes: A Paradigm of Otherness in English Popular Culture, 1650-1830
Excerpt from Ragussis, Figures
W. M. Thackeray, Rebecca and Rowena
Oliver Twist unit (2 sessions)
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Excerpt from Endelman, Jews of Britain
Meyer, “Antisemitism and Social Critique in Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’”
Conversion narrative unit (1 session)
Aguilar, The Perez Family
Osborne W. Henery Treighway, Leila Ada
Excerpt from Michael Galchinsky, The Origin of the Modern Jewish Woman Writer
Excerpt from Nadia
Valman, The Jewess in Nineteenth-Century
British Literary Culture
Excerpt from Ragussis, Figures
Daniel Deronda unit (4 sessions)
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
David Kaufmann, George Eliot and Judaism: An Attempt to Appreciate "Daniel Deronda"
E. A. Germains, Left to Starve, and No
One Wants the Blame
Amy Levy, Reuben Sachs
Excerpt from Bryan Cheyette, Constructions of 'the Jew' in English Literature and Society
Excerpt from Susan Meyer, Imperialism at Home: Race and Victorian Women's Fiction
Excerpt from Nancy Henry, George Eliot and the British Empire