Jews in the Regency
Posted by JW on March 16, 1998 at 17:32:36:
In response to Social status of Jews during the Regency?, written by Leanne S on March 16, 1998 at 14:27:58
] Was there any ostracism of Jews in the Regency? Were they unwelcome in Austen's social circle (the landed gentry) or higher echelons? Did money or royal favour pave the way for any? Did any "make little" or hide their Jewishness?
] The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue has some very impolite meanings for the word "jew" -- but that covers the lower classes and so-called University "wit".
] From memory, the Bennets had "merchant" relations that were snubbed by others in their social circle but they themselves on the whole were not ashamed of the connection.
] As for why I need to know -- it's not homework! For those of you interested in a possibly long-winded explanation, read on:
] Short Answer: It's for a fanfic.
] Long Answer: It was meant to be a one-off writing exercise. Perhaps you've heard of or are familiar with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Well, "in each generation, there is a Slayer". So I thought to myself, what would have a Regency Slayer been like? Willow, on
Buffy's closest friends, is Jewish and feedback on my fanfic (which I'll put up on my fanfic site sometime this week) also involved a question regarding Willow's Regency counterpart and possible Jewishness. I steered clear of it in the story 'cause I had no clue. But a follow-up story would be interesting *and* I'll get to learn something new about the Regency period.
] Phew! Thanks!
JW: The position of Jews in England was a contradictory one. On the one hand eminent families like the Rothschilds stood as high as any--they had financed the campaign against Napoleon in Spain and elsewhere in Europe. However, Jews were in practice excluded from many posts and functions. This was not due to anti-Semitism as such but to the fact that taking office,as an MP for example, involved taking a Christian oath, and observant Jews would not. There were also a group of Jews who had converted to the Church of England, of whom the most famous was Disraeli who became Prime Minister. There is little evidence of systematic anti-Jewish feeling in Britain at that time--indeed many European Jews immmigrated because of the lack of discrimination. But there was undoubtedly a good deal of informal prejudice.
- Re: Jews in Regency Leanne S 18:39:01 3/16/98 (2)
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