"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, CUNY
"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
"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."—J. The Jewish News of Northern California
"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."—Humor Journal
"The Implacable Urge to Defame, centers on the visual stereot f Jews through cartoons and caricatures, beginning in the 1870s. Baigell's close exacting readings of the images within their original social contexts helps to extract their full meaning. His writing style is quite approachable, and the images he presents are overt and easy to understand."—Studies in Contemporary Jewry
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