Item 54683. SELECTIONS OF A FATHER FOR THE USE OF HIS CHILDREN.

SELECTIONS OF A FATHER FOR THE USE OF HIS CHILDREN.

New York, 1820. Hardback. Item #41319

1st edition. Period full leather with spine label, 8vo, viii, 9-408 pages. Singerman 322; Rosenbach 209. The tipped in recommendation slip sign "Ph. Milledolar, " as noted by BAL, is present. President John Adams wrote of this literary anthology that it was "worthy to be presented by every father to every child, and deserve a place in every family. " Gomez's Jewish affiliation resonates in the book with his decision to include a selection from The History of Pope Pius V, which is the source for the "pound of flesh" incident in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. As opposed to Shakespeare's telling, in the History of Pope Pius V, it is the Jew who is the victim and the Christian who threatens him. Gomez prefaced the selection by writing: "The following subject shows that Shakespeare altered the character of Shylock, making him to be of the Jewish nation, when in reality he was not. " As Louis Harap notes (The Image of the Jew in American Literature, p. 260) , "Gomez was obviously trying to combat the effects of the Shylock stereotype. " Isaac Gomez (1768-1831) , whose great-grandfather had fled from Portugal to New York in 1703, was active in New York's Jewish community. The few early literary contributions by American Jews "was anything but impressive, but Gomez's book is worth remembering as one of American Jewry's earliest literary efforts… Gomez, both a devotee of the humanities and a committed Jew, lived comfortably ensconced in the two worlds of the Jew and the cultured American" (J. R. Marcus, United States Jewry, vol. 3, page 455) . See also Blau and Baron, The Jews of the United States, 1790-1840, Vol. II, pages 440-2. The last copy to appear at auction in the US, in 2013, sold for over $1800 (with commissions) . Foxing as expected. All endpapers present, and original period binding remains very handsome. A very good copy in outstanding period binding. (AMR-57-12).

Price: $1,700.00

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