This year, we are excited to invite you to join us on one of the boldest and most challenging adventures we have ever attempted. Three acknowledged masterpieces of English literature make up our season – but they are also all works that have been controversial, their meaning and purpose contested over centuries of public performance and discussion. All three explore the figure of the outsider in society, and images of Jews as outsiders in the predominantly Christian society of pre-20th century Europe.
Many accusations have been leveled against these images; our three great authors – William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Charles Dickens – have alternately been attacked as slanderers of the Jewish people and lauded for granting their Jewish characters so much sympathy and humanity. These images persist, and it is our purpose to explore them through the minds of these three writers of extraordinary vision.
To speak of such things is to reaffirm the importance of these three great works and the sharp light they throw on our own world.