Our site will be undergoing maintenance from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 20. During this time, Bookshop, checkout, and other features will be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Cookies must be enabled to use this website.
Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Historical / Renaissance
  • Language:English
  • Pages:406
  • eBook ISBN:9798350928990
  • Paperback ISBN:9798350928983

The Moneylender

A Novel of the Inner Life of Shakespeare's Shylock

by Sebastian Gerard

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
A manuscript written over for centuries ago, by a Jewish moneylender, discovered in the wall of an Italian synagogue in the Ghetto Nuovo of Venice, Italy, inspires and American theater director oh, Shakespeare's controversial play, The Merchant of Venice, to give new depth and dimension to the character Shylock.
Since 16th century in England, when Shakespeare first conjured him, Shylock, the moneylender in The Merchant of Venice, has been a magnet for vilification of Jews by theatre audiences the world over. Little is known of this character, fashioned from and carrying forward the prevailing Elizabethan age antisemitic stereotype, who speaks only seventy-nine lines in the entire play. The character Shylock reinforces the stigmatism and mistreatment of Jews as "Christ-killers" and greedy moneylenders so malevolent that one would demand a pound of debtor's flesh in payment. Such is the dilemma for Jewish theater director David Adler-Sterne, commissioned to direct Merchant in San Diego, but who sees Shylock as much victim as villain. It is a dilemma of casting and direction that motivates him to visit Venice, and the Ghetto that likely would have been the residence of any actual16th-century Jewish moneylender in Venice. Interspersed with Adler-Sterne's quest for inspiration from the atmospherics of the Ghetto is the story of real moneylender Shalukeh Mizrah in the late 1500s, who was brutalized and humiliated by Venetian Christians. Much of Shalukeh's story and the sources of his yearning for vengeance are recounted in a secret chronicle that he begins after his maltreatment by his debtors. Shalukeh's manuscript, the biography of a Portuguese crypto-Jewish converso, has remained secreted in a Ghetto synagogue for over 500 years, but is fortuitously discovered during a renovation project just days before Adler-Sterne is to return to America, and a person who might have been the model or inspiration for Shakespeare's Shylock is tantalizingly revealed. Shalukeh's Chronicle is a story of religious persecution, lies, deceit, deception, torture, murder, and revenge that extends from antiquity to the present day and has been transmitted in historical facts and by a stereotypical character and famous work of fiction. But all fiction has its origins in reality.
About the author
A retired university, professor of urbanism and media, Sebastian Gerard, is also an International traveler and tour guide, and award winning broadcast journalist. He has published more than a dozen nonfiction books on subjects on film, art, religion, travel, and cities and urban life, as James A. Clapp, Ph. D.