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Melodrama and the ‘art of government’: Jewish emancipation and Elizabeth Polack’s Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman!

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Melodrama and the ‘art of government’: Jewish emancipation and Elizabeth Polack’s Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman! / Carruthers, Joanne Amy.

In: Literature and History, Vol. 29, No. 2, 01.11.2020, p. 144-163.

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@article{10ae40aef23e466d956df443c8d0d591,
title = "Melodrama and the {\textquoteleft}art of government{\textquoteright}:: Jewish emancipation and Elizabeth Polack{\textquoteright}s Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman!",
abstract = "This article challenges historians{\textquoteright} representations of working-class Jewish attitudes to emancipation in the early nineteenth century through a reading of Elizabeth Polack{\textquoteright}s 1835 melodrama, Esther, the Royal Jewess, or the Death of Haman! Low expectations of working-class political engagement and the working-class genre of the melodrama are both challenged by the astute political content of Polack{\textquoteright}s play. Its historical and political value is revealed by placing the play within the tradition of the purimspiel, the Jewish genre that traditionally explores Jewish life under hostile government. Reading the play alongside Walter Benjamin{\textquoteright}s writings on the disparaged German melodramatic genre of the trauerspiel enables a finely articulated reading of its complex exploration of issues of sovereignty, law, and religious and political freedom. ",
keywords = "Jewish emancipation, melodrama, Walter Benjamin, Elizabeth Polack, Esther (Bible), Purimspiel",
author = "Carruthers, {Joanne Amy}",
year = "2020",
month = nov,
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0306197320945947",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "144--163",
journal = "Literature and History",
issn = "0306-1973",
publisher = "Manchester University Press",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Melodrama and the ‘art of government’:

T2 - Jewish emancipation and Elizabeth Polack’s Esther, the Royal Jewess; or The Death of Haman!

AU - Carruthers, Joanne Amy

PY - 2020/11/1

Y1 - 2020/11/1

N2 - This article challenges historians’ representations of working-class Jewish attitudes to emancipation in the early nineteenth century through a reading of Elizabeth Polack’s 1835 melodrama, Esther, the Royal Jewess, or the Death of Haman! Low expectations of working-class political engagement and the working-class genre of the melodrama are both challenged by the astute political content of Polack’s play. Its historical and political value is revealed by placing the play within the tradition of the purimspiel, the Jewish genre that traditionally explores Jewish life under hostile government. Reading the play alongside Walter Benjamin’s writings on the disparaged German melodramatic genre of the trauerspiel enables a finely articulated reading of its complex exploration of issues of sovereignty, law, and religious and political freedom.

AB - This article challenges historians’ representations of working-class Jewish attitudes to emancipation in the early nineteenth century through a reading of Elizabeth Polack’s 1835 melodrama, Esther, the Royal Jewess, or the Death of Haman! Low expectations of working-class political engagement and the working-class genre of the melodrama are both challenged by the astute political content of Polack’s play. Its historical and political value is revealed by placing the play within the tradition of the purimspiel, the Jewish genre that traditionally explores Jewish life under hostile government. Reading the play alongside Walter Benjamin’s writings on the disparaged German melodramatic genre of the trauerspiel enables a finely articulated reading of its complex exploration of issues of sovereignty, law, and religious and political freedom.

KW - Jewish emancipation

KW - melodrama

KW - Walter Benjamin

KW - Elizabeth Polack

KW - Esther (Bible)

KW - Purimspiel

U2 - 10.1177/0306197320945947

DO - 10.1177/0306197320945947

M3 - Journal article

VL - 29

SP - 144

EP - 163

JO - Literature and History

JF - Literature and History

SN - 0306-1973

IS - 2

ER -