The Jew's Daughter: A Cultural History of a Conversion Narrative

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An innovative study of the gendering of ethnic difference in Western society, Sicher's multidisciplinary, comparative analysis shows how racialized images have persisted and helped to form prejudiced views of the Other. Ugly Jewish father; beautiful daughter with a Christian boyfriend-what could possibly go wrong? Efraim Sicher has written an original as well as exhaustive study of one of the core images of anti-Semitism. How is Jewishness in the eye of the anti-Semite gendered and how does the conversion of the daughter (think Shylock's Jessica) herald the victory of Christianity over Judaism? A must read in our age of renewed anti-Semitism and misogyny! -- Sander L. Gilman, author of "Are Racists Crazy? How Prejudice, Racism, and Antisemitism Became Markers of Insanity" (2016) This exhaustively researched study, the scholarship of which ranges over literary works from the 13th to early 20th century, is a definitive guide to how the cultural icon of "the Beautiful Jewess" became a primary ground of European "objectification based on hostile stereotyping ... that constructs gender difference along racialized lines." The Jew's Daughter is destined to become an essential work for scholars of Jewish Cultural Studies, Gender Theory, and Critical Race Studies alike. -- Neil Davison, author of "Jewishness and Masculinity from the Modern to the Postmodern" Sicher makes a powerful argument about the role of the father-daughter pairing as a centerpiece in the construction of Jewish representation. More than an analysis of conversion or anti-Semitism, this study leads us on an encyclopedic journey across time and space to explore an understudied pattern of constructed Jewish difference. The Jew and his daughter, Sicher demonstrates, have an impressive history of shaping discourses of gender, sexuality, race, and nation throughout Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLanham, Maryland
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages322
ISBN (Electronic)9781498527798
ISBN (Print)9781498527781, 9781498527804
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Orientalism in literature
  • English literature
  • Konversion
  • Daughters in literature
  • Antisemitism
  • Jewish women in literature
  • European literature
  • Western Europe
  • Jews in literature
  • Jüdin
  • Literatur
  • Antisemitismus
  • Conversion in literature


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