Engelse Taal en Cultuur

 

 

 

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Title of document: Research Proposal

Name of course: English Studies Now

Date of submission: 26-01-2018

 

 

 

The work submitted here is the sole responsibility of the undersigned,
who has neither committed plagiarism nor colluded in its production.

 

Signed

Name of student: Joris Schröder

 

Student number: s4573471

 

The
Jews and the accusation

An
analysis of the representations of Jews in The
Prioress Tale and other works from 1300-1400.

 

 

Joris Schröder

S4574571

English Language and Culture

J.Schrö[email protected]

 

Abstract

This
paper aims to show the extent of Anti-Semitism in early medieval writing, more
specifically in Chaucer’s The Canterbury
Tales. It aims to answer the question, how are Judaism and the Jews
represented in The Canterbury Tales
and how does this compare to other writing of that period. I will be reading, analysing and comparing The Prioress tale to other tales within The Canterbury Tales that
features Jews. This thesis focuses on tales on
Blood libels, such as the Prioress tale and
will compare these as well. I will also be comparing fiction and non-fiction writing.
I anticipate finding the same stereotypes and Anti-Semitic ideas in most texts.

Proposal

Although
Anti-Semitism is outlawed in most of the Western World, there has been an increase
in Anti-Semitic attitudes, crime and fear of
Anti-Semitism in the past few years. 1234 This got me interested
in the History of Anti-Semitism and how it came to be in the Western world,
specifically England. However, this is an extremely broad topic. Eventually, The
Prioress’ Tale peaked my interest and
thus became the base primary text for this research.

The Prioress’ Tale
is one of the 24 stories in Chaucer’s The
Canterbury Tales is the story of a blood accusation
or blood libel. According to
the Jewish Encyclopedia this is a term now usually understood to denote the
accusation that the Jews—if not all of them, at all events certain Jewish
sects—require and employ Christian blood for purposes which stand in close
relation to the ritual, and that, in order to obtain such blood, they commit
assault and even murder.5 These
ideas were however simply untrue, Jewish Dietary laws, what we call kosher,
forbid the consumption of blood or blood tainted meat.6 Furthermore, no such ritual has ever existed
and no(Jewish) literature has ever been
found suggestion otherwise.7

These Blood Libels most likely originate in medieval
England with the murder of William of Norwich in 1144. A hagiography by the
monk Thomas of Monmouth was written about him in which Monmouth says that every
year the Jews gather a pick a country to murder a child from at Easter8. This
hagiography titled The Life and Miracles
of St. William of Norwich, written in 1173 contains the first written account of
these blood libels9.
One of the most important and well-known blood accusations is that of Little Hugh
of Lincoln. Hugh was 8 years old when he disappeared in Lincoln 31st
of July 1255. He was later found in August
in a pit belonging to a Jewish man named Jopin.
Jopin, on the promise that his life would
be spared, confessed that Hugh had been crucified by Jews. Later Henry III
visited Lincoln and had Jopin executed,
91 more Jews from Lincoln were taking to London of which 18 were executed. Chaucer’s
The Prioress’ Tale, although
published over 100 years later, is based
on this story. Because of Chaucer’s story Blood accusations became more well
known. These blood accusations carried on for ages, throughout most of Europe.
Incredibly in 1946 such as accusation was made in Poland which led to the death
of multiple Polish Jews, who had only just survived the Holocaust.10

Sadly, the Anti-Semitic history of England extends
further than these accusations. In 1275 Edward the 1st issued the
statute of Jewry or the Stätütüm dè Jûdèísmö.11 Most
importantly this statute made the practice of usury, the lending of money, illegal.
This left many Jews without work as many of them
were bankers. Some debts did not have to be paid anymore. Jews had to live in
specific places and were not allowed anywhere else. They had to wear a yellow
badge “And that each Jew after he shall be seven years old, shall wear a badge
on his outer garment that is to say in the form of two tables joined of yellow fait of the length of six inches and of the
breadth of three inches.”12 There
were many more rules, mostly concerning finances. All of this eventually
manifested in the 1290 edict of expulsion, which banned all Jews from England.13

Research

This thesis aims to explore the representation of Judaism and Jews in The Prioress’ Tale, how this tale came
to be and compare it to texts written around the same time. This leads to the following research question: How are the Jewish
people and Judaism represented in The
Prioress’ Tale and how does this compare to the other Canterbury Tales and texts written in the same period?

The Jews are not represented in a good light in The Prioress’ Tale, they are child murderers.
The story was however published after the edict of expulsion and thus does not
take place in England. As Jews were banned until 1657 from England there are no
clear links between this tale and societal developments. However, this tale did
popularise the Blood Accusation and the legend of Little Hugh of Lincoln.

The research will be done by careful analysis of the
primary texts that will be compared. Both works of fiction, religious texts and historical texts will be compared to The Prioress’ Tale. The Hypothesis is
that the representation of Jews will not differ largely between these texts and
that they will contain Anti-Semitic ideas.

This research will add to the field of philology and
religion studies by combining both into one research.

Timetable

A
lot of time for this essay will be spent
reading both primary and secondary sources. The most important source for this
will be The Prioress Tale and thus I
will need to spend enough time reading it through and through. Searching for
other tales to compare The Prioress Tale
to will take up a large amount of time as well. Finding and reading first and
secondary sources will take up most of February. After this period the analysation of the works and the writing of the
thesis itself will begin, I will first examine The Hagiography of William of Norwich which is often thought to be
the first account of a blood libel and will thus be very important for the writing
of the first chapter. The most important and thus most timing consuming will be
the analysis of the Prioress Tale, as
I will be using many different secondary sources which all will provide a
different inside into the story, this will take up a tremendous amount of both
reading and analysing time. As I will be
writing at the same time as analysing these
two chapters will most likely take until April to finish. These chapters also
form the basis for the analysis of the other works which means that these
should take less time. In May I will start comparing all the analyses of the
works and write my conclusion and introduction. This leaves June for re-writing and editing.

Structure

1.                 
Introduction (c. 1000
words)

In the introduction, I will give general background information on Jewish
history in England and background information on Chaucer.

2.                 
How the blood
libel came into existence (c. 1000 words)

In this chapter, I will give a short analysis of the
Hagiography of William of Norwich and explain how this story came to be and can
be named as one of the causes of large-scale
Anti-Semitism in medieval England.

3.                 
An analysis of The Prioress tale (c. 1750 words)

In this chapter, I will carefully analyse the Prioress
tale and link it to past blood libels and the story of little Hugh of Lincoln.

4.                 
Anti-Semitism in
the other Canterbury Tales (c. 1000
words)

This chapter focuses on the
other tales within the Canterbury Tales
and analyse mentions of Jews/Judaism and
Jewish characters.

5.                 
Anti-Semitism in other
fiction between 1300-1400 (c. 1250 words)

In this chapter, I analyse
other works of fiction, poetry or prose, in which Jewish characters or Judaism
is a central theme.

6.                 
History and Religion,
analysing Anti-Semitism in non-fiction
(c. 1250)

In this chapter, I will examine representations of the Jewish
people in non-fiction work from 1300-1400. These will be religious texts and historical
texts such as chronicles.

7.                 
Comparing previous
findings (c.2500)

In this chapter, I compare the findings of the previous
chapters in order to establish a general idea of the representation of the
Jewish people and Judaism in the various texts.

8.                 
Conclusion (c. 750)

The conclusion answers the research
question and will prove/disprove the hypothesis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

“Anti-Semitic incidents ‘at record level in UK’.”
BBC News. July 27, 2017. Accessed January 26, 2018.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40735634.

Archer, John. “The Structure of Anti-Semitism in
the “Prioress’s Tale”.” The Chaucer Review 19,
no. 1 (1984): 46-54. http://www.jstor.org.ru.idm.oclc.org/stable/25093903.

Biberman, Matthew. Masculinity, anti-semitism
and early modern English literature: from the satanic to the effeminate Jew.
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

Cortellessa, Eric. “Anti-Semitic incidents surge
86% in US in 2017 – ADL.” The Times
of Israel. Accessed January 26, 2018. https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-semitic-incidents-surge-86-in-us-at-start-of-2017-adl/.

Dearden, Lizzie. “Anti-Semitic attacks hit record high in UK
amid warnings over rise of ‘hatred and
anger’.” The Independent. July 26, 2017. Accessed January 26, 2018.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/anti-semitic-hate-crime-attacks-british-jews-assaults-uk-incidents-record-high-cst-research-a7861721.html.

Delany, Sheila. 2002. Chaucer and the Jews :
Sources, Contexts, Meanings. The Multicultural Middle Ages. New York:
Routledge.

Denise L. Despres. “Cultic Anti-Judaism and
Chaucer’s Litel Clergeon.” Modern Philology 91, no. 4
(1994): 413-27. http://www.jstor.org/stable/438135.

Elukin, Jonathan. “Judaism: from Heresy to Pharisee in
Early Medieval Christian Literature.” In Traditio Vol. 57, 2002, pp. 49–66.,
www.jstor.org/stable/27832009. Accessed 12 Dec. 2017.

Friedman, Albert B. “The “Prioress’s
Tale” and Chaucer’s Anti-Semitism.” The Chaucer Review 9,
no. 2 (1974): 118-29. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25093296.

“German protests prompt fears of rising
anti-Semitism.” Financial Times. Accessed January 26, 2018.
https://www.ft.com/content/f8d5e066-e0ac-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c.

“JewishEncyclopedia.com.” BLOOD ACCUSATION –
JewishEncyclopedia.com. Accessed January 26, 2018.
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3408-blood-accusation.

“JewishEncyclopedia.com.” DIETARY LAWS –
JewishEncyclopedia.com. Accessed January 26, 2018. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5191-dietary-laws#anchor4.

“JewishEncyclopedia.com.” ENGLAND –
JewishEncyclopedia.com. Accessed January 26, 2018. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5764-england.

KORETSKY, ALLEN C. “Dangerous Innocence:
Chaucer’s Prioress and Her Tale.” In Jewish Presences in English
Literature, edited by COHEN DEREK and HELLER DEBORAH, 10-24. McGill-Queen’s
University Press, 1990. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt80f02.4.

Spector, Robert M. World without civilization:
mass murder and the Holocaust, history and analysis. Lanham, Md.: Univ.
Press of America, 2005

“The life and miracles of St. William of Norwich
: Thomas of Monmouth : Free Download & Streaming.” Internet Archive.
January 01, 1896. Accessed January 26, 2018.
https://archive.org/details/lifemiraclesofst00thomuoft.

Zitter, Emmy Stark. “Anti-Semitism in Chaucer’s
“Prioress’s Tale”.” The Chaucer Review 25, no.
4 (1991): 277-84. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25094166.

“–– The Heretical Press ––.” King Edward I’s
Royal Edict: The Statute of Jewry, 1275. Accessed January 26, 2018.
http://www.heretical.com/british/jews1275.html.

 

1
Lizzie Dearden, “Anti-Semitic
attacks hit record high in UK amid warnings over rise of ‘hatred and
anger’,” The Independent, July 26, 2017, , accessed January 26, 2018, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/anti-semitic-hate-crime-attacks-british-jews-assaults-uk-incidents-record-high-cst-research-a7861721.html.

2
Eric Cortellessa, “Anti-Semitic
incidents surge 86% in US in 2017 – ADL,” The Times of Israel, , accessed
January 26, 2018,
https://www.timesofisrael.com/anti-semitic-incidents-surge-86-in-us-at-start-of-2017-adl/.

3
“Anti-Semitic incidents ‘at record
level in UK’,” BBC News, July 27, 2017, , accessed January 26, 2018,
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40735634.

4
“German protests prompt fears of
rising anti-Semitism,” Financial Times, , accessed January 26, 2018,
https://www.ft.com/content/f8d5e066-e0ac-11e7-a8a4-0a1e63a52f9c.

5
“JewishEncyclopedia.com,”
BLOOD ACCUSATION – JewishEncyclopedia.com, , accessed January 26, 2018,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3408-blood-accusation.

6
“JewishEncyclopedia.com,”
DIETARY LAWS – JewishEncyclopedia.com, , accessed January 26, 2018,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5191-dietary-laws#anchor4.

7
“JewishEncyclopedia.com,”
BLOOD ACCUSATION – JewishEncyclopedia.com, , accessed January 26, 2018,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3408-blood-accusation.

8
“The life and miracles of St. William of Norwich : Thomas of Monmouth :
Free Download & Streaming,” Internet Archive, January 01, 1896, ,
accessed January 26, 2018, https://archive.org/details/lifemiraclesofst00thomuoft.

9
“The life and miracles of St. William of Norwich : Thomas of Monmouth :
Free Download & Streaming,” Internet Archive, January 01, 1896, ,
accessed January 26, 2018, https://archive.org/details/lifemiraclesofst00thomuoft.

10
Robert M. Spector, World without
civilization: mass murder and the Holocaust, history and analysis (Lanham,
Md.: Univ. Press of America, 2005), 74.

11
“–– The Heretical Press ––,”
King Edward I’s Royal Edict: The Statute of Jewry, 1275, , accessed January 26,
2018, http://www.heretical.com/british/jews1275.html.

12
“–– The Heretical Press ––,”
King Edward I’s Royal Edict: The Statute of Jewry, 1275, , accessed January 26,
2018, http://www.heretical.com/british/jews1275.html.

13
“JewishEncyclopedia.com,”
ENGLAND – JewishEncyclopedia.com, , accessed January 26, 2018,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5764-england.

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