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If there is to be a challenge to the increasingly prevalent impulse to recover Anglo-Jewish texts from the silences of the archives, the challenge will undoubtedly arise in relation to the novels of Julia Frankau. Frankau’s late Victorian novels on Jewish subjects, Dr. Phillips: A Maida Vale Idyll (1887) and Pigs in Clover (1903), explore and authorize a particular set of attitudes known as “Jewish self-hatred” and legitimate these attitudes by recourse to an idiosyncratic form of scientific racism. Moreover, these texts have served as spurs to the production of racial anti-Semitism. In such a case, what does it mean to recover the text? For what purposes does one revive interest in a self-hating work that has a history of generating dangerous consequences? Although Frankau’s racism is not typical of the Victorian Jews, it does mark a leitmotif in Anglo-Jewish thinking, and is therefore necessary to a historically accurate understanding of the period.


This article was originally published in the journal Victorian Literature and Culture. Copyright © 1999 Cambridge University Press.

The version of record is posted here with the permission of the author.