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Trials of the Diaspora A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony (Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya; Chairman, London Consortium; Visiting Professor, Birkbeck College, Universit Julius


Trials of the Diaspora A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony (Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya; Chairman, London Consortium; Visiting Professor, Birkbeck College, Universit Julius

Trials of the Diaspora presents the long and troubling history of anti-Semitism in England, from the middle ages to the twenty-first century. Anthony Julius identifies four distinct versions of English anti-Semitism, which he then investigates in detail. The first is the anti-Semitism of medieval England, a radical prejudice of defamation, expropriation, and murder, which culminated in 1290, the year of Edward I's expulsion of the Jews from England, after which there were no Jews left to torment. The second major strand is literary anti-Semitism: an anti-Semitic account of Jews continuously reappearing in English literature, from the anonymous medieval ballad Sir Hugh, or the Jew's Daughter through Shakespeare to Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, and beyond. Thirdly, Julius addresses modern anti-Semitism, a quotidian anti-Semitism of insult and partial exclusion, pervasive but contained, experienced by Jews from their 'readmission' to England in the mid-17th century through to the late 20th century. The final chapters then deal with contemporary anti-Semitism, a new configuration of anti-Zionisms, emerging in the late 1960s and the 1970s, which treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises. It is this final perspective which, in Julius's opinion, now constitutes the greatest threat to Anglo-Jewish security and morale. This book, the first history of its kind, has already provoked much comment and debate in its hardback edition, coming as a timely reminder that English culture has been in no way immune to anti-Semitism - and in certain ways is still not to this day. The paperback edition now includes a new preface by the author and a conclusion delineating the main categories of anti-Semitic prejudice.


No thoughtful person who wants to have an opinion about anything Jewish...can avoid reading this book. * David Cesa rni, BBC History Magazine * A scholarly and judicious history of Britannia's version of that most lethal form of nonsense called antisemitism. Luminous and comprehensive history. * Scholars for Peace in the Middle East * Julius is a truth-teller...I am grateful for his calm balance...[and his] extraordinary moral strength. * Harold Bloom, New York Review of Books * A strong, sombre book on an appalling subject. * Harold Bloom, New York Review of Books * Writing against a backdrop of rising violence and abuse directed at English Jews and the State of Israel, Anthony Julius insightfully and passionately traces antisemitism's abject history in England from the medieval period until today. This eminently readable book is thoroughly researched and nuanced, and its take on contemporary antisemitism is a true tour de force. * Jehuda Reinharz, Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and President, Brandeis University * A meticulous survey of an aspect of English life that can scarcely fail to discomfit modern readers. * Max Hastings, Sunday Times * Part history of an irrational hatred, part forensic analysis of a sophistical lie, part literary criticism - for, as Anthony Julius shows, anti-Semitism is a species of fantastical literature, all figure of speech, misquotation and fancy - this exhilarating work nails a defamation which to humanity's discredit, persists to this hour. Indispensible. * Howard Jacobson * Anthony Julius has produced a brilliant and readable account of a shameful stain on the national reputation. The best dissection I've seen of Britain's oldest and least acknowledged racial prejudice. * Nick Cohen * Julius's book is... the gold standard work on the subject of English antisemitism. * David Aaronovitch , The Jewish Chronicle, 17/06/2010 * Review from previous edition:This is an essential history and so it's fortunate it has been written by a man with the extraordinary fluency, staggering erudition, scholarly integrity, intellectual acumen, and moral discernment of Anthony Julius. * Philip Roth *

About the Author

Anthony Julius is the author of several books, including T. S. Eliot: anti-Semitism and Literary Form and is engaged in various political, legal, anti-anti-Semitic activities. Deputy Chairman of the commercial law firm Mishcon de Reya, specializing in litigation law, he is also chairman of the London Consortium, a Visiting Professor at Birkbeck College, University of London, and was a founder and first Chairman of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

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Book Info

Publication date

9th February 2012


Anthony (Deputy Chairman, Mishcon de Reya; Chairman, London Consortium; Visiting Professor, Birkbeck College, Universit Julius

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Oxford University Press


912 pages


Social & cultural history



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