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"Intelligent and informative. Two aspects are especially valuable. [Felsenstein] makes more extensive use than previous writers of ephemeral literature--tracts, periodicals, chapbooks, sermons, and so forth and he analyses pictorial evidence, which in practice means satirical prints, with as much care as the written word." -- John Gross, Times Literary Supplement
In Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, Felsenstein focuses on English cultural attitudes toward Jews during what is known as the "longer" eighteenth century, from roughly 1660 through 1830. He describes the persistence through the period of certain negative biases that, in many cases, can be traced back at least to the late Middle Ages. Felsenstein finds evidence of these biases in a wide range of primary sources -- chapbooks, ephemeral pamphlets, tracts, jest books, prints, folklore, proverbial expressions, and so on, as well as in the products of higher culture. With the advent of the nineteenth century, however, he sees a gradual development of more liberal attitudes in English society, "inchmeal evidence of the loosening hold upon the collective imagination of medieval beliefs concerning the Jews."
"Felsenstein's book shows just how widespread and persistent... stereotyping was and makes available for further analysis a considerable amount of new information, especially pictorial evidence, which he analyzes brilliantly." -- James Shapiro, Shakespeare Quarterly
"Felsenstein's enormously absorbing, fluent yet provocative study ultimately questions the defeat of the image of Jewish 'Otherness'... If the traditional Whig version of history would point towards the triumph of a cosy English tolerance, Felsenstein's study provides powerful support to those scholars of minorities in Britain who would point to the persistence of prejudice." -- Mark Levene, Notes and Queries
"A luminous and scholarly survey of a familiar subject from a fresh perspective." -- Michael Shinagel, The Age of Johnson
"An excellent example of intelligent, learned, and informative cultural history." -- Vincent Carretta, Albion