"Fascinating, disturbing, groundbreaking and stunningly complete, The Implacable Urge to Defame will remain a unique and brilliant work, to be studied and referenced for years to come."—Archie Rand, professor of art, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York
"This book is an important contribution to early twentieth-century studies, to Judaic Studies programs, and to the large field of literature that addresses the pernicious effects of ethnic stereotyping."—Mona Hadler, professor of art history at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
"The book is unique in its subject matter, its attention to detail, its use of supporting literary material, some of it informational, some of it interpretive, and, perhaps above all, for its analytic acumen and insightful interpretation of the cartoons . . . wonderfully readable, informative, [and] enlightening."—Donald Kuspit, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History and Philosophy at Stony Brook University
"Analyzes how and why the outrageously poisoned caricatures of Jews displayed in the American popular press became embedded in the American subconscious. A must read if we are to understand how cartoons in the mass media are able to transform individual fear into collective hatred."—Rose-Carol Washton Long, Professor Emerita Ph. D. Program in Art History CUNY Graduate Center
"A well-researched and accessible study exploring how American Jews have been stereotyped, belittled, and scapegoated in cartoons during the great wave of immigration and into the Great Depression. Looking at images from a variety of mainstream magazines, Baigell examines this incessant caricaturing in lucid prose and with fresh insights."—Samantha Baskind, Professor of Art History, Cleveland State University
"Art historian Matthew Baigell examines the portrayal of Jews in illustrations in mainstream periodicals (and especially humor magazines) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the height of Jewish immigration to the United States….In a time when fears of immigrants have been stoked anew, it's especially worth looking at this disturbing history."—Howard Freedman, J. the Jewish News of Northern California
"This is a very extensive, thorough, and well researched empirical study of caricatures of Jews....an important contribution not just to the study of humor but also to art history and to the position of the Jews in America."—Christie Davies, University of Reading, Humor: International Journal of Humor Research
"Baigell has produced an important contribution not just to the study of humor but also to art history and to the position of the Jews in America."—Christie Davies, Humor Journal
From the 1870s to the 1930s, American cartoonists devoted much of their ink to outlandish caricatures of immigrants and minority groups, making explicit the derogatory stereotypes that circulated at the time. Members of ethnic groups were depicted as fools, connivers, thieves, and individuals hardly fit for American citizenship, but Jews were especially singled out with visual and verbal abuse. In The Implacable Urge to Defame, Baigell examines more than sixty published cartoons from humor magazines such as Judge, Puck, and Life and considers the climate of opinion that allowed such cartoons to be published. In doing so, he traces their impact on the emergence of anti-Semitism in the American Scene movement in the 1920s and 1930s.
Matthew Baigell is professor emeritus in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous books, including American Artists, Jewish Images, Jewish Art in America: An Introduction, and Social Concern and Left Politics in Jewish American Art, 1880–1940.
6 x 9, 240 pages, 67 black and white illustrations