Cynthia Scheinberg

Cynthia Scheinberg

Cynthia Scheinberg

Cynthia Scheinberg, Professor in the Department of English, Mills College, published Women’s Poetry and Religion in Victorian England: Jewish Identity and Christian Culture in 2009. Her interests include Victorian literature, emphasis poetry, Anglo-Jewish literature and history, women's studies, religion and literature, feminist theory, genre studies, cinema studies, composition and pedagogy, community service/service learning curriculum development.

Scheinberg’s paper, “Psalms and Conversionary Poetics in Nineteenth-Century England,” examines translations and commentaries on the Psalms that multiplied in the first half of the nineteenth century by Christian authors such as John Keble, Henry Newman, and Henry Hart Milman.  Each of these authors uses a rhetoric of Christian conversion, in which Jewish texts and selves can be transformed into Christian ones, to explore the Jewish identity of Biblical poetry at the moment when Jewish national identity was being publicly debated in English politics and culture.  Contextualizing these critics’ work within the politics of Christian Biblical criticism and debates around Jewish national identity, the paper exposes the integral connections between discourses of Jewish-Christian relations and the literary criticism of late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century England.  The paper then demonstrates how Anglo-Jewish writers confronted this Christian conversionary paradigm in various works of their own, participating in and challenging Christian constructions of the Psalms in order to assert the persistence of Jewish identity in the face of Christian typological erasure of that identity.

 

 

Levy, Amy. A London Plane-tree, and Other Verses. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1889.

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Amy Levy. A London Plane-tree and Other Verses. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1889.

Amy Levy was a precocious feminist, reviewing Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh when she was only thirteen. She wrote lyric poems, dramatic monologues, essays, stories, and novels. Through her writings, she focused  attention on Jewish identity, feminist positions, and homosexual relationships. She struggled with “constitutional melancholy” and eventually committed suicide.

Logo from A London Plane-tree and Other Verse. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1889.<br />

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Logo from A London Plane-tree and Other Verse. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1889.

Algernon Charles Swinburne. Roundel From the French of Villon. [Undated].

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Algernon Charles Swinburne. “Roundel From the French of Villon.” Autograph Manuscript. Undated.

Letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Unknown. 22 April [Undated].

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Letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Unknown. 22 April [no year].

Letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Brown. 24 April [Undated].

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Letter from Algernon Charles Swinburne to Brown. 24 April [no year].

Algernon Charles Swinburne. Studies in Song. London, 1880.

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Algernon Charles Swinburne. Studies in Song. London: Chatto & Windus, 1880.

This volume, part of the Brownings’ Library, is inscribed by Swinburne on the fly-leaf: Robert Browning / with best regards / from A C Swinburne. 

Algernon Charles Swinburne. Ballad Against the Enemies of France. [Undated].

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Algernon Charles Swinburne. “Ballad Against the Enemies of France.” Autograph Manuscript. Undated.

Isaac Watts. Psalms of David. London: A. Wilson, [17--?].<br />

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Isaac Watts. Psalms of David. London: A. Wilson, [17--?].

This volume was part of the Brownings’ Library and is signed by Robert Browning, Sr.

 

- Exhibition Text by Melinda Creech

Cynthia Scheinberg