Jan. 14th, 2016

For NY I got a thick tome of Victorian detective stories, including one that flabbergasted me - it contains not one, but two Jews, whose Jewishness is not indicated in any way other than by their names, their shared youth in Warsaw, and their profession (jewelers). No "levantine looks". No "slightly too flashy vests". No "liquid eyes" or "thick lips", no lisp. And both of them interact with everyone they meet just as though their names were Smith and Archer. In fact, one of them appears to have known the detective for quite a while, with no explanation given of the fact.

And who wrote this miracle of political correctness and tolerance, unequaled in British Lit? None other than R Austin Freeman, who, in other stories, portrays men of "strongly Semitic aspect" with "beady eyes". Strike me with a four-by-four and color me astonished.

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