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The Jew, a Comedy;

as performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. By Richard Cumberland, Esq.

Stock Code 107171

London, Printed for the booksellers, 1794

Original price $1,205.00 - Original price $1,205.00
Original price $1,205.00
$1,205.00
$1,205.00 - $1,205.00
Current price $1,205.00
Jewish character debut on a London stage. First performed at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 1794, Richard Cumberland's (1732-1811) The Jew is notable for being the first play in English theatre to portray a Jewish character as the hero of a stage production, reversing the tradition of presenting Jews negatively as the villains in dramatic works.

'The Jew is often read as a revision of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the vehicle for drama's most famous and notorious Jewish character: Shylock — Sheva's [the protagonist] polar opposite. Though the play's plot mirrors much of Merchant's, it also updates it to reflect 18th-century stage traditions, including a complete overhaul of the romantic plot, and – most importantly – it highlights Sheva's charitable nature' (Jewish Public Library).

The play enjoyed considerable success at the time, particularly in Ireland and North America where it was performed under the revised title The Benevolent Hebrew. This imprint 'printed for the booksellers' is the scarcest of the three London editions of 1794. ESTC lists only 8 copies.

First edition; 12mo (19 x 11.5 cm); woodcut device, comma after 'Jew' in title, dramatis personae to title verso; stitched as issued, rough-cut edges, internally very clean; [2], 48 pp.

ESTC T188353.
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The Jew, a Comedy;

CUMBERLAND, Richard.

Stock code: 107171

$1,205.00

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