British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 3: From Late Victorian Fantasy to Tolkien

At least one major Victorian fantasy writer, George MacDonald, was at times quite warm toward the Jews, and a landmark of British literary philosemitism, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, was published in 1876. Nevertheless, among the writers of late Victorian fantastic fiction, negative stereotypes of Jews outweigh positive representations, a trend that continued into the twentieth-century. … Continue reading British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 3: From Late Victorian Fantasy to Tolkien

Disraeli’s Jewish Fantasy Novel (British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 2)

In my last post I talked about Almamen, the protagonist of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1838 historical romance Leila, or the Seige of Granada. A fiery Jewish nationalist born in the wrong era, Almamen is a gifted political strategist, driven and charismatic. One suspects that there a bit of Benjamin Disraeli in Almamen. The future prime minister … Continue reading Disraeli’s Jewish Fantasy Novel (British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 2)

British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 1

Tolkien’s dwarves, as has often been pointed out, are based on the Jews. While the band that shows up at the home of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit has roots in northern European sources such as the Poetic Edda, Tolkien also gives Thorin Oakenshield and company a story of exile and a powerful yearning to … Continue reading British Fantasy and the Jewish Question, pt. 1