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Shakespeare and the Jews

Hosted By: Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program ("CSP")

In his talk Shaul Bassi, professor of English literature at Ca’Foscari University of Venice, compares the historical facts of the Ghetto of Venice, the place where a cosmopolitan Jewish community has lived since 1516, with the fiction created by William Shakespeare in The Merchant in Venice.

What are the differences and similarities between Shylock and the real Jewish moneylenders who settled in Venice in the early sixteenth century? What can we learn about this famous play by looking at the Ghetto, and what can literary representations (from Shakespeare to the present day) teach us about the place that has contributed the word ‘Ghetto’ to the global vocabulary?

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Shaul Bassi

Shaul Bassi is a professor of English and postcolonial literature at Ca’Foscari University of Venice. His research, teaching and publications are divided between Shakespeare, postcolonial studies (India and Africa), and Jewish studies. He has published Le metamorfosi di Otello. Storia di un’etnicità immaginaria (Grafis, 2000) and edited an Italian critical edition of Otello (Marsilio, 2009). Recent publications include Visions of Venice in Shakespeare (with Laura Tosi, Ashgate, 2011), Experiences of Freedom in Postcolonial Literatures and Cultures (with Annalisa Oboe, Routledge, 2011); Shakespeare’s Italy and Italy’s Shakespeare. Place, ‘Race’, and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)
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Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program ("CSP")

The Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program (“CSP”) is a program offering adult Jewish education and family Jewish celebrations.
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