'Heritage Anti-Semitism' in Modern Times?

Representations of Jews and Judaism in Twenty-First-Century British Historical Fiction for Children

in European Judaism
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  • 1 Open University
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Beginning in the 1960s, British children's literature began to include sympathetic representations of people from outside the dominant culture. Greater numbers of Jewish characters appeared as part of this trend. In the succeeding decades, the British publishing industry has continued to encourage cultural sensitivity in children's books, but this article argues that, despite this, in the twenty-first century constructions of Jews and Judaism increasingly resemble the stereotypical images common in works from previous eras. The paper goes on to contend that although these stereotypes were acknowledged and challenged in historical fiction for children of the 1960s and 1970s in order to promote tolerance, authorial intent in employing such images in more recent historical novels is often unclear, and as a result the texts convey ambivalent messages to today's young readers about the place of Jews in British society.

European Judaism

A Journal for the New Europe

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